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Have you ever felt so full of joy that you literally prayed: 'Let me die?'
When was the last time you woke up in the morning full of energy with a beaming smile on your face and you shouted out to God, “Let me die”? Or do you remember when you last went to a prayer meeting and somebody with a broken arm asked for prayer only to hear the intercessory words of the joyful pastor, “Lord, let him die”?
It sounds scandalous, doesn’t it? Who on earth would pray like that? Anyone who did so would have to have a screw loose.
One of the strange things about the Bible is that there was a man who prayed thus. His name was Simeon. He held baby Jesus in his arms and immediately prayed to God, “Lord, now let your servant depart in peace” (Luke 2:29).
Simeon was asking the Lord to let him die. But why did he present such a request? The answer is in the following verse: “For my eyes have seen your salvation” (Luke 2:30). Simeon could die in perfect peace because he had seen the glory of God revealed in the face of Christ.
This episode teaches us that a vision of God’s salvation delivers us from the fear of death. When I read of saints like Ezekiel, John and Paul who were transported into the heavens of the heavens to contemplate the naked majesty of God, they never recovered.
Their one aim in life was to die. Listen to Paul as he explains to the Philippians that he had a desire, “to depart and to be with Christ which is far better” (Philippians 1:23). They had seen something that nothing on earth could ever come close to. Oh, to see what they saw! To taste what they tasted! To live with the full assurance of faith that they had!
Nowadays if anybody prays, “Lord let me die” it’s usually within the context of, “Lord, I’m loaded down with this bondage of a mortgage; I’ve been unemployed for the past six months; and my kids are spoiled brats. Let me die!”
But not so with men of God! They want to die because they have savoured the flavour of eternity. They laugh at the grave and mock the pangs of death. But they can only do because they possess a soul-enriching Christ-driven faith.
Without faith, no man (woman) can pray the way Simeon did. I confess that I have never prayed Simeon’s prayer. Maybe one day I will have enough faith to do so. But there can be no doubt that folk who live with eternity stamped on their eyeballs ask extravagant things of God that no other church going person would ever dream of uttering.
A vision of God’s glory leads us to live beyond the run-of-the-mill existence of established religion.