July 27, 2021

The Joy of Death

Written by Shana Schutte

For the believer, dying is not to be feared but a reason to rejoice.”

Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – July 27, 2021

“Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?” 1 Corinthians 15:55

For some, just the mention of death brings with it a variety of negative emotions such as fear, angst, and sadness. 

But what if the experience of death is the exact opposite? What if, for the believer in Christ, death is filled with exuberant joy and overwhelming happiness? What if death is like slipping out of your clothes? What if it’s easy? 

In the book “Mrs. Hunter’s Happy Death,” John Fanestil investigates a practice that was popular in the 18th and 19th centuries in both England and America: to recount “happy deaths.” 

“Happy dying was a ritualized way of dying practiced for generations—and in fact for centuries across the history of the Christian church. Rooted in the paradoxically good news of Christ’s death on the cross, this ritual encouraged those who practiced it to seek an experience of God’s grace—what today we would call a ‘spiritual high’ enabling them to transcend the pain and suffering and grief that come with death.” 

In the book, Fanestil recounts the death of Mrs. Hunter, a young woman who had been ill for quite some time. Just before her death she exclaimed: 

“Angels are come for me! Can you not see them? Bless the Lord! Bless the Lord!” Then turning her face to the pillow, she said, “O how easy! How easy!” From that time, she spoke no more to be understood; but . . . took her happy flight to the joys of the Lord on Saturday, January 17, 1801.

People are still experiencing happy deaths in our current day, and they are worth celebrating as a reminder that dying is not to be feared, but a reason to rejoice! Death is liberation from sin. It’s liberation from fear. It’s a graduation from everything that’s negative that binds the heart, soul, and body. For the Christ follower, death is inutterable glory—and if you’re like my friend, Maxine, it will make you want to shout “Hallelujah!” 

My good friend, Maxine, also had one foot on earth and one foot in eternity the second she took her last breath. In that moment, she saw God’s glory through the veil. 

Max had been facing an insidious cancer for several years. She lay on her death bed and had been unresponsive for a couple of days. But her spirit was fully alive. “It won’t be long,” her husband said. 

Just seconds before breathing her last breath, she quickly sat up, threw her hands in the air and shouted, “Hallelujah!” then she laid down and died. 

Like Mrs. Hunter, Max had her happy death that led to her now glorious experience in heaven. 

What if the second we are no longer here, we are there? What if dying is simply like slipping out of your clothes? What if, in the blink of an eye, we are gloriously changed? What if death is not something to be feared, but something that makes the believer exuberantly, and eternally happy? 

“I know that my redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand on the earth. And after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God; I myself will see him with my own eyes—I, and not another. How my heart yearns within me” (Job 19:25-27)!


Lord, what a glorious promise! You have turned the sting of death into joy! I can’t wait to see you in eternity and experience the glorious freedom you have promised to those who believe in you. Thank you, Jesus, for eternal life.


Read Revelation 21 and praise God for his goodness.

Related Reading

Acts 2:27; Revelation 1:18; Isaiah 25:8

Worship Resource

Hillsong: My Redeemer Lives


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  1. Joseph Casadei Jr says:

    Well neither in combat, or as a lineman i feel I never feared death. But by adopting 2 grand babies out of the hospital I need to be there for them and I fear death before they are 18. I know my time is your time lord.

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