Appointment in Samarra (James 4:14)

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Life is so fleeting, so transient. Death is inevitable, no matter what we do to avoid it. None can escape it. Even for the young, it is never far away.

The beloved American preacher Peter Marshall used the following illustration about death in one of his sermons: “An old legend tells of a merchant in Baghdad who one day sent his servant to the market. Before very long the servant came back, pale and trembling. In great agitation he said to his master, ‘Down in the marketplace I was jostled by a woman in the crowd, and when I turned around I saw Death. She looked at me and make a threatening gesture. Master, please lend me your horse, for I must hasten to avoid her. I will ride to Samarra and there I will hide, and Death will not find me.’ The merchant lent him his horse, and the servant galloped away in great haste. Later the merchant went down to the market and saw Death standing in the crowd. He asked her, ‘Why did you frighten my servant this morning? Why did you make a threatening gesture?’ ‘That was not a threatening gesture,’ Death said, ‘It was only a start of surprise. I was astonished to see him in Baghdad, for I have an appointment with him tonight in Samarra!’

 Friend, unless Jesus returns first, each of us will one day meet death. It may be soon, or it may be many years from now. If we have received Christ as Savior, however, we need not fear. Instead, we can look forward with rejoicing because we know the One who holds the keys of life and death. – David C. Egner

 Though life is often filled with pain,

Though death looms just ahead,

The Lord can fill your heart with peace

And take away the dread. – D. J. De Haan

 Only those who are ready to die are ready to live.

  • May 18, 1985, Our Daily Bread