And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there you may be also.
~ John 14:3
This past week I have encountered the dying process with patients as young as 1 month and as old as 96 years. The spectrum of preparation for both the patient, family and friends takes on many forms. However, in each case there seems to be a search for meaning.
A child is born and has a rare genetic disorder and suddenly, the parents aren't planning for a lifetime of memories, they are holding on to each new day and realizing that this might be the day that their child leaves them.
An older person who has lived a long and full life has made all the final arrangements and when asked "if God calls, will you be ready to go?" To which the person responded, "Yes, but I may have to tell God, 'just wait a minute.'"
While we all hope that we live long and fruitful lives, the truth of the matter is, that our mortality meets us unexpectedly.
Sometimes I have blamed the church for not talking more of death. We plan for Good Friday, remembering Jesus' crucifixion, but can't seem to wait to raise him from the dead. Death is something that our culture just simply doesn't discuss.
I'm not saying that it should be the topic at every dinner table, but even Jesus tells the disciples that he soon will not be with them, and that the place where he is going, there will be a room for each of them.
The power that raised Lazarus from the dead, is the same power that receives us when we take our last breath. The reality of our faith reminds us that death is but a threshold to the streets of heaven where we will no longer tire, and where we shall rise up as eagles.
It is simply the unexpected lessons of mortality that we have difficulty understanding.
Stay in God's grip!
G. Todd Williams (c) 2017
Dear Lord, I pray that I find peace in knowing that You will always be with me. As I take Your hand and take my first step into the next, I will trust You always. Amen.
Rev. G. Todd Williams lives in the Houston metro area and is a Hospice Chaplain at Essential Hospice, Webster, Texas, and is an ordained Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) pastor.