Dying is thought of mostly in physical terms. With the help of the palliative folks, a dying person has caring support for his physical, psychological, emotional and social needs. When my life approaches the end, the most important dimension of the final chapter is spiritual. There is an eternal context to my dying - my earthly life is but a tiny fraction of my eternal life. I am a born-again Christ follower and am convicted that His death on the cross grants me eternal life. I receive that eternal life by faith - repenting of my sinful nature while at the same time professing Jesus Christ to be my Saviour.
Before I am dying…
Dying brings to a close the life purpose God has designed for me. Two unexpected deaths of our family members in the past year heightened the awareness and therefore the fragility of my mortality. The deaths left the family not only bereaved but also scrambling to sort out unfinished business as neither had left behind a will nor any comprehensive plan for when they were not around. I have learnt that the Lord had made me with a unique purpose and I am determined to fulfill that purpose before I die. By the time I am given a terminal illness diagnosis, it will be too little, too late if I had not been intentionally living the life that God has designed. I resolve to live my purpose-driven life so as to joyfully achieve what has been set for me.
When I am dying…
God's Word in Romans 8:38-39 New International Version (NIV) holds a promise:
38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
The God who has journeyed with me when I am healthy will not abandon me when I am dying. I have courage to face any degree of suffering that comes with the ravages of disease because I am not alone. I rest in the certainty that there will be divine resources to cope with the ordeal in my final mile. That includes Him surrounding me with people who love me and who will do their utmost to help me finish well.
After I have died…
If this earthly life were all there is, I would die dissatisfied. I would also die with fear and regret. But it is not! Breathing my last breath is not the end; as a matter of fact, it marks the beginning of my life everlasting. I have steadfast faith that it is God's will for me to accomplish a unique mission on this side before being ushered to the other side of eternity. I am comforted by God's promise described eloquently in the Bible in Revelation 21:
Then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth,” for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. 2 I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. 3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. 4 ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”
No race is too difficult when we know the finish line. I am liberated to run with abandon the race of life because I know what comes after.
Dying is part of living. To die well, I have to have lived well. Whether in life or in dying, God is with me.