One of the creepiest houses in America is the Sarah Winchester house in San Jose, CA. Sarah Pardee married William Winchester, the firearms entrepreneur who earned wealth and fame by his rifles. They had a little girl named Annie. Tragedy struck when both William and Annie died. Sarah was overwhelmed with depression and sought guidance from a spiritualist. He told Sarah that spirits would haunt her but she could pacify them if she built a house for the spirits. Furthermore, she could cheat death as long as the construction of the house continued.
Blessed with an inheritance of millions, she launched a 38-year building project. With 16 carpenters employed full-time for almost 4 decades, the house has 160 rooms, 2,000 doors, 47 fireplaces, 160,000 windows and secret passageways that go nowhere. Sarah slept in a different bedroom every night to confound the ghosts and confuse death. Death arrived nonetheless. She was still building, but death was not confused, as death has a keen sense of direction.
Many construct a life to keep death at bay through their resume or reputation, their athletic activities, vacations, hobbies and keeping an all-consuming schedule. But even our devotion to some of the best things in life are merely a diversion that keeps us from reflecting on the fact that every life has a hard stop at the end.
But that does not mean death should overshadow our waking hours. In Hebrews 2 it says, “Jesus shared in our humanity so that by His death He might free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death.” Jesus’ death is the reason we don’t have to fear our own death. Because His death was not the last statement Jesus made—He rose from the dead! He is alive and that means we will live forever with Him.
Paul states in 1 Corinthians 15, “Death where is thy victory, O death where is thy sting?” It has been removed because Jesus conquered death. For us death is merely the passageway to eternal life with God, living in a place that Jesus has prepared for us. That is why Paul frames the Christian life, “To love is Christ and to die is gain! Whether we live or die we are with the Lord!”
-Rev Dr William Lewis