Summary: Whether you catch the last seat or the next seat on death's train as long as you are on the Glory bound track don't sweat it.
There is an old story about a Sunday School teacher that asked all her students to raise their hands if they wanted to go to Heaven. All but Johnny raised their hands. She asked Johnny why he did not want to go to Heaven. He replied that he wanted to go, but thought she was planning to go right now. It is true that Christians are thrilled they are saved and going to go to Heaven, but most want to catch the last seat on the last train leaving.
There is no ideal time to die. If we say we want to be 100 when we get to 99 we may decide 11o is a better time to die. We want to live to see our grandchildren grow up and then when we see that we want to see their children grow up. Most of us want to die in our sleep and wake up in Glory. Yet, Christians are routinely tortured and killed and have been since the times of Christ, Stephen being the first martyr. Some die in accidents, fires, home burglaries or public shootings. Some are raped and killed or die by horrible diseases after much pain and suffering.
Because of all that suffering some weep at a birth and rejoice at a death. Some see miscarriages and still births as a blessing to the child since it will never know the pains and sorrows of life. That is true, but not much comfort for a parent. When is a good time to lose a child? No parent wants to have their child die before them. That is unnatural in our minds, but it is not uncommon. For centuries, many children have been stillborn or died from SIDS even before we had a name for it. Often throughout the centuries mothers died in childbirth. Many children did not make it to adulthood because of many diseases.
Indeed, in American history we can see people marrying very young and while a woman marrying at 15 might have 8 or more children only 2 may make it to childhood. Average life expectancy was 36 in the 1700's so both the man and woman marrying shortly after puberty was not strange because at 17 they were middle-aged according to the average. When does it hurt less to lose a child; before birth, at birth, at 6, 9. 17? No way to really measure that because each age has it particular sorrow
We bemoan when someone dies at what we call too young. We say they had so much potential. They had their whole life ahead of them, but what kind of life would they have lived? Would they cure cancer? Would they be a serial killer? Would they develop a disease that would be painful for years? Would they be murdered or die in a horrible accident just a few more years later than they did die? We do no know, but God does. We always have God questions when people die sooner than we think or in some manner we deem unacceptable.
Psalm 116:15 Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints.
God is present and aware of death. After all, sin brought it into the world by Adam so He is aware of people dying. The passage is not saying that He values death itself, but He is there for His saints. One elderly woman who knew she was dying asked me, "What if I forget the way home?" I told her that either Jesus Himself or an angel would be there to take her and they know the way home. She died a couple of days later. To see someone who you love and loves you come home is precious. You value you that moment and I believe that is what is meant here. God values the return of the soul He created and loved and loved Him as well. When we are returning home to loved ones here we want the miles to shrink and the time to pass quickly, but going to our Heavenly home we want to turn a second into a year and a mile into a thousand miles.
Does God ever use an early death as a blessing? Well, in Isaiah 38 we are told that God told Hezekiah to get his house in order because he was going to die. Hezekiah made a very good plea by human standards. He had been a good king that was young and had no heir. God answered that prayer with 15 more years. Would we want a warning like that and what was Hezekiah's thoughts when he was in the fourteenth year? Was God blessing him when He was going to take him home early? I think so. Had he died then, his legacy would have been spotless and glorious. By living it was tarnished because of the son he had in that time turned out to be one of the worst kings Israel ever had. Hezekiah would have done well to not trade in his ticket for another train. Both he and the nation would have been blessed.