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?
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…!
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.
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.