Death, for the believer in Christ, is the wonderful entrance into the presence of Jesus Christ. Yet it is a journey into what we only see by faith. How the journey will commence we do not know exactly. The greatness of the other side we know by faith but not sight. In his book, Help Heavenward, by Octavius Winslow there is an analogy somewhat related to this certain but unknown journey.
A father and mother were living with their two children on a desert island in the midst of the ocean, on which they had been shipwrecked. Roots and vegetables served them for food, a spring supplied them with water, and a cavern in the rock with a dwelling. Storm and tempest often raged fearfully on the island.
The children could not remember how they had reached the island; they knew nothing of the vast continent; bread, milk, fruit, and whatever other luxury is yielded there, were things unknown to them.
There landed one day upon the island four Moors in a small boat. The parents felt great joy, and hoped now to be rescued from their troubles; but the boat was too small to take them all over together to the adjoining land, so the father determined to risk the passage first.
Mother and children wept when he embarked in the boat with its frail planks, and the four black men were about to take him away. But he said, “Weep not! It is better yonder, and you will all follow soon.”
When the little boat returned and took away the mother, the children wept still more. But she also said, “Weep not! In the better land we shall all meet again.”
At last came the boat to take away the two children. They were frightened at the black men, and shuddered at the fearful sea over which they had to pass. With fear and trembling they drew near the land. But how rejoiced they were when their parents appeared upon the shore, offered them their hands, led them into the shade of lofty palm-trees, and regaled upon the flowery turf with milk, honey, and delicious fruits. “Oh, how groundless was our fear!” said the children; “we ought not to have feared, but to have rejoiced when the black men came to take us away to the better land.”
“Dear children,” said their father, “our voyage from the desert island to this beautiful country conveys to us a yet higher meaning. There is appointed for us all a still longer voyage to a much more beautiful country. The whole earth, on which we dwell, is like an island. The land here is, indeed, a noble one in our eyes, although only a faint shadow of heaven. The passage hither over the stormy sea is—death; that little boat resembles the bier, upon which men in black apparel shall at some time carry us forth. But when that hour strikes, then we, myself, your mother, and you, must leave this world. So fear not. Death is, for pious men who have loved God, and have done His will, nothing else but a voyage to the better land.”