The Sunset of Our Lives

August 23, 2016

A compilation

Audio length: 8:28
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O the friends that now are waiting,
In the cloudless realms of day,
Who are calling me to follow
Where their steps have led the way;
They have laid aside their armor,
And their earthly course is run;
They have kept the faith with patience
And their crown of life is won.
They are calling, gently calling,
Sweetly calling me to come,
And I’m looking through the shadows
For the blessed lights of home.
—Fanny Crosby


I think maybe the Lord wants us to spend more time alone preparing to leave this earth and go to heaven. More time in communion with Him, thinking about our lives and taking account of what we’ve accomplished, thinking and praying a good deal about if we are doing our best for the Lord, and praying about what more we could do.

We watch the sunset and we think of the sunset of our life, and we watch the dawn and we think of the sunrise of tomorrow. Sometimes we wonder which will be our last one. Sometimes we wonder if this is the last one and wonder if we have done all we can do, and if He’ll say, “Well done, dear son!”

When you see the sunset, you wonder if you’ve done what you could today. And as you see the sun rise, you wonder if you’re going to do all you can tomorrow.

Sunrise tomorrow, sunrise tomorrow,
Sunrise in glory is waiting for me;
Sunrise tomorrow, sunrise tomorrow,
Sunrise with Jesus for eternity.
—Slim Whitman

There will be no more sorrow then, thank You, Lord! No more sickness or sorrow, pain or death! No more sunsets, only sunrise for us in heaven.

It really helps you to get your priorities straight and realize what’s important and what isn’t. I think it’s partly the Lord preparing us to die, because that’s something that everybody has to face, in a sense, alone with the Lord or one of His emissaries. Thank the Lord we don’t really face death alone. They used to sing an old song:

I won’t have to cross Jordan alone.
Jesus died for my sins to atone.
When the darkness I see,
He’ll be waiting for me.
I won’t have to cross Jordan alone.
—Thomas Ramsey

It’s good if the sunset of a life can be as beautiful as the sunsets of God’s creation. It would be wonderful if we could die as beautifully as the day. As beautifully and as gracefully and peacefully, with a few fond farewells, a few final words.—David Brandt Berg


Gen. William Nelson, a Union general in the Civil War, was consumed with the battles in Kentucky when a brawl ended up with his being shot, mortally, in the chest. He had faced many battles, but the fatal blow came while he was relaxing with his men. As such, he was caught fully unprepared.

As men ran up the stairs to help him, the general had just one phrase, “Send for a clergyman; I wish to be baptized.” He never had time as an adolescent or young man. He never had time as a private or after he became a general. And his wound did not stop or slow down the war. Everything around him was left virtually unchanged except for the general’s priorities. With only minutes left before he entered eternity, the one thing he cared about was preparing for eternity. He wanted to be baptized. Thirty minutes later he was dead.1


When Corrie ten Boom of The Hiding Place fame was a little girl in Holland, her first realization of death came after a visit to the home of a neighbor who had died. It impressed her that someday her parents would also die. Corrie’s father comforted her with words of wisdom. “Corrie, when you and I go to Amsterdam, when do I give you your ticket?”

“Why, just before we get on the train,” she replied.

“Exactly,” her father said, “and our wise Father in heaven knows when we’re going to need things too. Don’t run ahead of Him, Corrie. When the time comes that some of us will have to die, you will look into your heart and find the strength you need, just in time.”2


A friend of mine visited Portugal some years ago on an evangelistic tour. He was delighted to find many believers who were “spiritual giants,” among them a missionary from Great Britain named Eric Barker. He had spent over 50 years in Portugal preaching the gospel, often under adverse conditions.

During World War II, the situation became so critical that Barker was advised to send his wife and eight children to England for safety. His sister and her three children were also evacuated on the same ship. Although his beloved relatives were forced to leave, he remained behind to carry on the work. On the Lord’s Day following their departure he stood before his congregation and said, “I’ve just received word that all my family have arrived safely home!” He then proceeded with the service as usual.

Later, the full meaning of his words became known to his people. Just before the meeting, he learned that a submarine had torpedoed the ship, and everyone on board had drowned. He knew that because all were believers they had reached a more “desired haven.”3 Although overwhelmed with grief, he was able to rise above the circumstances by the grace of God and keep on working for the Lord. The knowledge that his family was enjoying the bliss of heaven comforted his heart.—Henry G. Bosch


“Someday,” D. L. Moody used to say, “you will read in the papers that D. L. Moody of East Northfield is dead. Don’t believe a word of it! At that moment I shall be more alive than I am now!”4

Published on Anchor August 2016. Read by Gabriel Garcia Valdivieso.
Music by John Listen.

1 Christianity Today, 1994.

2 Today in the Word.

3 Psalm 107:30.

4 The Wycliffe Handbook of Preaching and Preachers.

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