Why “A Thousand Daily Deaths?”
There’s a man named Michael Card, and he writes music. But he doesn’t just write music, he writes books and songs. And the profundity of them is staggering. I can give you recommendations of his best if you’re interested. But there’s always been one song I’ve loved more for the opening than the song. It starts with a recording of his grandfather preaching on John 12:24, about how the death of a seed brings life.
Then at the end of 2010 I was researching the church in the time of Nero for the musical I’m writing. I began to think a lot about death. About this time I got a stomach bug. It really wasn’t bad, but I didn’t take it very well. The day after I got better I was out running and listening to a sermon by Eric Ludy, called “Extraordinary Courage.” He talked about dying daily to self so that when we are called to die, whether in martyrdom or not, we’ll die well.
Earlier that week I’d finished Richard Baxter’s book “The Saint’s Everlasting Rest,” in which he talked about the joys of heaven and living in such a way now that we longed for heaven, and remembered that our earthly afflictions should turn our gaze heavenward. That helped me answer the question that had been ringing in my mind ever since I began researching the early church: How would I be able to stand firm with the threat of a painful death? When the answer came, it was so obvious. Firstly, He is so beautiful, it is worth pain to go to Him. And secondly, in every trial, He has always provided the strength as needed, not beforehand, but He always gives it.
But also that the daily trials and calls to die to self prepare us for that final death. I realized that meant thousands of deaths each day. Those times when I’d rather read than help mommy grocery shop, or rather practice oboe than cook dinner when everyone else will be gone until dinner time, or when I don’t want to serve because it interrupts my schedule.
Those deaths are preparing me, and they are keeping me from remaining alone, but instead helping me abide in Christ, keep His commandments, and bear much fruit.
But it is no death to die, but life.
There is more on all of this here – in verse. :)
Be Thou my consolation, my shield when I must die;
Remind me of Thy passion when my last hour draws nigh.
Mine eyes shall then behold Thee, upon Thy cross shall dwell,
My heart by faith enfolds Thee. Who dieth thus dies well.