The elderly mother of a friend of ours is in hospice and will soon depart this life. Despite being a doctor, our friend is emotionally shaken and drained due to how close she was with her mom. Not being a strong believer is not helping in the situation.
Each time we are involved in one of these situations I remember so vividly the days leading up to my mom passing away 6 years ago. I recall the stress as well as the emotional roller coaster I went through in the final week of her life. Even though her passing came as no surprise, there was still an emptiness when the time came and some measure of grief afterwards.
When Moses died, the children of Israel grieved for 40 days. Despite being so close to their Promised Land, their respect and devotion for the man who had led them for 40 years resulted in their inability to do anything but grieve his passing. Finally God spoke to Joshua who in turn charged the people to “be done with it” for they had a job to do, which of course was capturing the land promised to them.
Death is never easy to deal with. It marks the final chapter of this life for each one of us. When a person takes his last breath, their human life expires and they embark on the next chapter of what will be their eternal destiny. This is why it is so comforting when we know someone who passes away was in fact a Christian. We know we will see them again when it is our time to “go home”.
I cannot imagine what goes on within the heart of someone who rejects Christ and abhors God at that moment they know their life is ending. I cannot imagine the fear that drives the person to take one more breath because they do not want whatever comes next. Perhaps this explains why so many people come to Christ near the end of their life.
I cannot imagine the feeling of loss one experiences when someone close to them dies but the person was obviously not a Christian. Knowing that ultimately the Righteous Judge will either find their name in the Book of Life or not, is small consolation when dealing with the finality of losing someone forever.
Personally, I thank God I know the truth and have no fear of death and am able to handle the emotions which are present when someone I know or am close to dies. As difficult as the situation is, there is great comfort in knowing what Paul laid out in 1 Corinthians 15 and 1 Thessalonians 4. Without those sections of Scripture, we would surely sorrow even as others who have no hope.
I am sure that sometime in the next week we will go to the wake/viewing/etc of our friend’s mother. As we have done numerous times, I thank God we will be able to provide comfort and strength for those involved. It is times such as this that reinforce within me the gratitude I have in knowing the truth and not having to be afraid of death or be devastated by it.