From John O’Hara’s Book, Death in Samarra
There was a merchant in Baghdad who sent his servant to market to buy provisions and in a little while the servant came back, white and trembling, and said, “Master, just now when I was in the marketplace I was jostled by a woman in the crowd and when I turned I saw it was Death that jostled me. She looked at me and made a threatening gesture; now, lend me your horse, and I will ride away from this city and avoid my fate. I will go to Samarra and there Death will not find me.”
The merchant lent him his horse, and the servant mounted it, and he dug his spurs in its flanks and as fast as the horse could gallop he went. Then the merchant went down to the market-place and he saw Death standing in the crowd, and he went to him and said, “Why did you make a threatening gesture to my servant when you saw him this morning?”
“That was not a threatening gesture,” he said, “it was only a start of surprise. I was astonished to see him in Baghdad, for I had an appointment with him tonight in Samarra.”
• • •
We all have an appointment with death. Every man, every woman. 100% of all people will see death. (Sure, there was Enoch and Elijah, but God had other plans!)
We can run. We can try to postpone it. We can try to stave off it’s affects on our aging bodies… But in the end we will run into death’s waiting arms.
Morbid? Heavens no! It is, however, a wake up call. Have you considered that day? Have you prepared your heart for the inevitable?
Foxe’s Book of Martyrs is filled with men and women of amazing faith, who took that day into account well in advance, and with confidence embraced death…not as an end, but as a means of showing the depth of their faith, and even more so, as a singular event to bring them into the arms of an even greater embrace – into the loving arms of Christ!