Death & DyingIt's one thing to be ready for eternity, it's another thing to be ready to face death. As a pastor I have sat with many people facing death. Some with fear and anxiety and some with peace and even the joy of anticipation of what is to come. Even with that said, each experience is unique. No one really prepares us to face death. Pastors talk often about being ready for eternity. But what that journey entails we often overlook. So what will our last moments on earth look like? And even more importantly what does it look like to be ready to close your
eyes for the last time on earth?
Sure, we can think of the practical aspects like having your checklist complete. I’m not referring to your bucket list. I’m picturing us thinking through all of the details we need to have done such as a will, burial arrangements and even your memorial service.
Now you might say, “I don’t want a memorial service” or “Don’t make it a big deal”. To that I say, You don’t want to witness for Christ one last time? Your memorial service is not only about saying, “Good bye” rather it is about us saying, “Look what Joe valued”, or even better, “Look how he loved Jesus.” And if you are a Christian it’s an opportunity for the preacher to talk about the blessed hope we all can have in Jesus. It might be the last time one of your unsaved friends or family is open and willing to come to church.
Certainty it is sad when we have a funeral and the focus on the person’s life is that they loved fishing or cooking. But in your case I do hope there is much evidence in your life that you loved and served Jesus.
Saying good-bye can be so difficult, look to the Old Testament for examples of how God wants us to handle saying good-bye. Many of the Patriarchs gave blessings. What kind of blessings will you leave behind? In facing death don’t think only of yourself. We can give our children or even our grandchildren words of affirmation and even words of encouragement. Words that indicate our desires for their future. If we don't share these words they are left guessing what we might wanted for them. If you are estranged from a loved one you can
always write a letter.
Think of someone you have lost in your life, what would you liked to have heard them say to you or communicate to you before they passed? Likewise what is on your heart that needs to be passed on to the generations that will follow? Finally where is your legacy, what will yours be? How will you be remembered? When I think of people close to me who have passed I remember our experiences together serving together, worshiping together, studying together, doing life together.
Now it’s time to think about how we face death. When you're all alone lying in a hospital bed where will you turn? When it’s just you and God. When you are too weak to pick up a Bible and all you can do is sit. What will you do? It’s at that time when our soul and our psyche need to be ready with the word of God planted in our hearts. What verses do you have stored in your heart that will carry you through the dark times? If your Bible memory is on empty, it’s time to start filling your tank while there is still time.