Guest Post: Christian perspective on dying

Guest writer: Bets

Death at any time is difficult. My first experience of it was as a 10 year old when my mother was extremely ill in hospital and it was thought she would die. But she didn’t and so death was not really understood. When I was 12 my grandfather died, totally unexpectedly, seemingly healthy one day and gone 2 days later. It was a mystery to me at that time, and I often thought I caught sight of him in the streets over the next few months.

During my many years as a nurse, I saw death in many. Mostly it came peacefully, but other times it came “unexpectedly”. It was still a mystery in many ways though. How one could be, and then not be.

The real force of death came just a few weeks before my 28th birthday, when the Lord called my mother home at 51 years of age. It had been an event anticipated, but the reality of it was crushing. Bewildering. Hard to escape – for months. My life just kept on, but seemingly without purpose. How could the woman who gave me birth be gone? How could she who had fought ill health for so many years… just give up? Why would she?

The questions still come back, and puzzle me in many ways, but no less at this time, as we go through another “death” experience. This time it is my mother-in-law. She is 82 years old, so death doesn’t seem so rude. But just a month before her cancer diagnosis she was on a cruise. Jumped on her exercise bike every day, walked on a trampoline, attended aqua-aerobics. And then… suddenly she is dying. 

My mother-in-law and I are not close friends. So my grief in watching her die has caught me by surprise. It is so sad to me. Not that she will soon receive her homecall from the Lord, but that her daughters (and son) will be left motherless. Her husband of over 50 years will miss her every hour. Her grandchildren will no longer have a Gran. The sadness of it is all makes me just weep…

And so did our Lord – remember at the tomb of Lazarus? (John 11:35) So He understands our grief. He feels our pain. And what an incredible comfort it is to know that He really, truly understands, has been in that pain too. 

But death for the believer is so hopeful! We are “with Christ, which is far better”! (Philippians 1:23) We miss our loved ones, but we know that they are, by far, better off. No pain. No sorrow. We can’t even imagine it, can we?

It is easy to be angry about our loved ones getting sick. Even angry with God. But He is over all, and He has a plan. Not one that we can see, or even understand at all, but we can be reassured that the God who controls the universe and every atom in it, is in control of every circumstance in our lives. Nothing happens by mistake. Nothing happens without His knowledge. 

Do we accept this? 

Do we accept His will? 

Peacefully?

Or do we protest and argue?

This seems to me to be where we often mess up. We say “if it is Your will, Lord”, but we don’t really mean it honestly. We want to add provisos or accept one part and not another. 

We need to peacefully accept His will – to His glory. When we consider all that He has done, continues to do and will do for us, it seems we can do nothing else…!

Addendum:
Tuesday 20th January - my mother-in-law is called Home to her Lord and Saviour in the early hours of the morning. While we will miss her, we are so thankful to the Lord that He took her less than 2 weeks after the diagnosis of cancer, and she did not suffer much at all. Some might wonder at His timing, but He is over all, and we can give Him the praise for His loving care of all of us.


Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.

(John 14:1-3)


*****

Guest Writer: Betsy (my cousin) is a young mum of two gorgeous young children which she has just started to home school. She is a busy lady as keeper of her home, a wonderful helper to her husband, but also takes care of her sister and father.

*****

Comments

  1. Death is a really difficult concept to comprehend - that someone could be here and mean so much and then be gone is something my mind can barely grasp. It will always be difficult to comprehend. But thank God for HOPE in Christ, and the joy that comes with knowing that the person we have lost is WITH the Lord Jesus, never to suffer again.
    I think if death wasn't "taboo" in our society, it would be a little less confusing and hard to get our heads around.

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    1. I find it interesting how death has become a taboo when it never use to be. Perhaps because people are dying older and less children (and adults) are exposed to deaths in the families that we no longer understand that death is part of living and we can’t hid from it. I also think that with fewer Christians, people no longer have hope and that frightens them. Once-up-a-time, when a person died in the family (particularly in Britain) the body would be placed in the sitting room until the funeral home came. That meant that children saw death in a much more matter-of-fact way.

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  2. My mum died when she was 92 years of age...on my birthday.It was not difficult for us nor her, because we knew, and she knew, Jesus was waiting for her. We are all looking forward to the time when it is our turn and we meet up again with her, and dad and lots of other friends but most importantly, we will be with Jesus. What has been very difficult for me this week is that a beautiful young friend only 17, was called home due to some terrible accident. I had known her and was friends with her mum, she was an only daughter with 5 brothers.....you cannot begin to imagine how her mum must feel right now! And I can't either, I will see the family tomorrow at her funeral.....so sad...when they are so young! She loved the Lord and is with Him too...but the sorrow is not any easier to bear, especially for her family! God Bless
    Yaddy

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    1. Both my parents are alive so loosing a parent is something I am yet to have to come to terms with, however like you, mine are both Christian and know that Jesus will be waiting for them. But I feel like you when a young person dies as it is so sad, especially when it makes no sense at all. One can only lean on the Lord and take comfort in know that His plan is right even if it causes us pain and anguish. It doesn’t stop us from crying and feeling great sadness, but it does ease the pain a little.

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    2. I think it is always harder to see a fresh young blossom taken than a fully ripened and mature life. Somehow our human minds find it even harder to grasp.

      I thought of this poem by Annie Johnson Flint: http://www.homemakerscorner.com/ajf-gardener.htm

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  3. This is a very moving and thought provoking read. Thank you, Betsy, for sharing this and opening your heart this way. Thank you, Jo, for posting this here for us. God bless you both.

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    1. It isn't a topic I can write about as I haven't lost anyone close to me (i.e. parents or siblings) so it isn't a topic I can fully understand or write about well. I was pleased that Betsy could put this into words so much better that I.

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  4. Thank you for sharing this at Good Morning Mondays. My father passed away 5 years ago and then mum went 11 months later, in between that time we had a still born daughter. Our children and ourselves have had to deal with death and our daughter passing was terribly hard on our children. I understand that my father and mother were unwell and that they had lived good long lives but when it came to our baby that was a different matter. God is in control and his timing is perfect, even though we don't understand it, we have come to a point of acceptance. Thank you for posting this reminder to trust in Him and rest in His decisions. Blessings

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    1. My parents lost a baby from cot death at three months (before I was born) - she would have been 50 this year. 50 years ago one was told to get on living and not mourn the death of one’s baby, in fact my mother was strongly encouraged to have another baby (me). Its only been in recent years that my mother has talked about her grief of loosing her baby (she is now in her early 80s) - I think the process of grief and lost of an infant is better handled these days (perhaps you might disagree) but 50 years ago it was non-existent and I’m sure it caused long term pain. These days my mother is far more eager to be in heaven where she will meet her baby again and her mother who died when she was quite young.

      I am sad to hear about your recent looses, but knowing your gorgeous daughter is in heaven must be such a comfort.

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    2. Putting the grief and pain aside, our hospital stay when we lost our baby was the best one I had every had. We were encouraged to hold and cuddle our baby and the children also were encouraged to look at her. The thought that Tish (Tischler is her name) is in Heaven is so very comforting and that we get to see her again is just wonderful. Thanks again for this post and I am glad that your mother is able to talk about her baby to you and you can share in this with her. Blessings

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