Scared to death of dying…

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In seminary we spent a semester acting as a chaplain, which meant one day a week we were assigned a floor in the hospital and told to visit each patient. On one of the first days a friend in the class approached a room with a woman who was in obvious pain. Because of a recent procedure her voice was weak and distorted, but she seemed to be trying to yell. Unfortunately my friend could not understand her strained voice. He asked a nurse, but she encouraged him to go into the rooom. As he entered he started to announce who he was when he saw the patient was reaching for the nurse’s call button. He walked over and helped her reach it, while she continued to moan. When the nurse answered, the woman whispered, “there is a man in my room”…

Hospitals are fighting the inevitable. Death always wins. Yet, this universal event is also one of the most feared. We all want to know what will happen when we die, but it is a question no one can answer. We are stepping into the unknown. In fear we make every effort to fend of the inevitable. So it was strange to learn my cancer ridden Grandma refused treatment and declared she is ready to die. After the news she went on a tour to say goodbye before her health fails and this week she is here to visit us (mainly Ivy!).

She is stepping boldly into the kingdom, because she believes the promise of Christ, “today you will be with me in paradise.” (Luke 23:43). The movement of God is always to save. In the garden He came to Adam and Eve after they broke communion. In Christ He sent his only son to die. In the future He will return to gather us into His kingdom. A story in three parts which gives us hope, even in death. We need not worry about how it will look or what we will do – though it may be fun to ponder. Instead our trust in the one who COMES brings peace, even in the face of death.

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