Author Ava Pennington
Author Ava Pennington

dying and death

Our days are numbered. That sounds so ominous, doesn’t it? Or maybe it sounds like cheesy dialogue in a B movie: “Your days are numbered, pal.”

But think about it. This earthly body doesn’t last forever. And it would seem way too senseless if the measure of our life is merely a function of some random toss of the dice.

That’s why I derive so much comfort from Bible verses that remind me of God’s sovereign control, especially in life and death.

dying and deathFor example, Psalm 139:16 tells us God knows the end of our life before it begins:

“Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be” (NIV).

And Psalm 116:15 reminds us that in the end, regardless of what others think or know,

“Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His faithful servants” (NIV).

Death can be scary, especially if you’re not certain of what happens next. Theories abound. Do we simply cease to exist? Is there really a heaven? If there is, what’s it like? And what about hell?

These are not merely academic questions for me. With my husband’s recent passing, I need to be sure of the answers…and I found that certainty in the following verses:

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16 ESV).

“Jesus said to her, “’I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live’” (John 11:25 ESV).

“Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also” (John 14:1-3 ESV).

Yet, for some—even Christians—death is not as frightening as the process of dying. Many of us have either heard or said: “I hope I die in my sleep. I don’t want to suffer. Let me just slip away from this life to the next.”

That isn’t always the way it happens, is it? We live in a broken, sin-sick world, and the consequences of this condition include pain and suffering, even for the strongest believers.

As Jim Denison, founder of the Denison Forum, has said,

“Even the most passionate worship does not exempt us from suffering and death. Whether we are deeply in love with Jesus or we have vehemently rejected his word, we can still fall victim to random violence, natural disasters, and terrible diseases.”

So where does that leave us? Where does it leave me, as I remember the pain my husband suffered before he died?

It leaves me remembering that our suffering is for a moment in light of eternity. It leaves me remembering:

“The sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us” (Romans 8:18 NIV).


“For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal” (II Corinthians 4:17-18 ESV).

Keeping this eternal perspective does not come naturally. I need the ever-present ministry of the Holy Spirit in my life to continually remind me of these truths. Especially when my physical circumstances conspire to cause me to forget we were created for more than this earthly life.

But if you and I can maintain an eternal perspective, even in the face of dying and death, then we become living testimonies to the truth of God’s Word and the glory that is to come.

This world is not our destination. It is merely a bus stop. A train station. For the Christian, this is a bed-and-breakfast stopover on the way to our permanent mansion. And the experiences of pain, dying, and death remind us not to get too comfortable in a place that’s meant to be temporary.

Our days are, indeed, numbered…and I’m grateful for that assurance.

How about you?

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  1. Jackie Oxendine

    Yes, I am so grateful and comforted to know this earthly place is not our home. To live in the presence of our God 24/7 free of sickness, violence and all evil, to be reunited with love ones, to sit at His feet is truly something to behold. I am grateful for the glimpses of heaven (many are revealed to me in your writing Ava) which keep me pressing onward toward the prize. Know that you are loved and treasured my friend as God continues to strengthen you and provide you with all you need to carry on in His service.

  2. Jane Roach

    Beautifully stated, Ava. Knowing the truths you cited is key to facing death. I liked your comments: This world is not our destination. It is merely a bus stop, a train statin, a bed-and-breakfast stopover to our permanent mansion! I continue to pray for you to experience God’s loving care of you, His precious child. May He continue to bless your kingdom work!

  3. Jana

    Thank you for God’s beautiful words. May you be comforted by His Love.

  4. Dian K Spayde

    Thank you for your words that remind us all of our need to focus on eternity and not our temporary homes here on earth. We have so much to look forward to…..eternity with our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Death is not the end!

  5. Amy


  6. Ava Pennington

    Thank you, Jackie, Jane, Jana, Dian, and Amy.

  7. Cheryl Reed

    What always amazes me is the difference between a believer and a non-believer in the face of earth shattering circumstances. I love the strength you have in the Holy Spirit’s power as He guides you along.
    Testifying to Gods wondrous love and whose we are!
    Prayers, Cheryl

  8. Ava Pennington

    Thank you, Cheryl. Yes, grateful that we grieve, but not as those who have no hope.

  9. Kelly McIntyre


    As always, you have put into words and quotes justbthe right scripture, the comfort the blessed assurance of salvation and comfort of faith in God.


  10. Pam walsh

    Ava, even in your time of loss you still inspire us with your words. You have a special gift. Praying for your continued peace. ❤️🙏

  11. Paulette

    Thank you for your words of comfort and encouragement, even in your grief. May our God of all comfort and peace hold you close. 💔

  12. Rob Udzinski

    Ava, my wife sent this to me, as today marks 5 years since my Mom passed away. I just wanted to say thank you for the inspiring words. It’s exactly what I needed to hear today.

    Thank you!

  13. Ava Pennington

    Thank you, Rob. Please accept my sympathy on the loss of your mother – five months or five years, it still hurts.
    Give my regards to Jenna.

  14. Barbara Dusenbery

    Such Blessed Assurance! Thank You Ava 😍

  15. Lori shipman

    Thank you for this beautiful article Ava. I did not realize your husband had recently passed. I am so sorry for your loss.

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