"You believe at last!" Jesus answered. "But a time is coming, and has come, when you will be scattered, each to their own home. You will leave me all alone. Yet I am not alone, for my Father is with me." After Jesus said this, he looked toward heaven and prayed, "Father, the time has come. Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you."
~ John 16: 31-32; 17:1
Yesterday I spent part of the day with a woman who recently was diagnosed with a terminal disease. As she shared she commented, "I am not afraid of death, I am afraid of dying."
I think for most of us, if we were honest, feel the same way. It is understandable and nothing to be ashamed of. It is uniquely our own journey. The surrender of self, and all that we work so hard to gain and maintain is all lost in a single last breath.
To fear dying is among the most related feelings that I hear each day as I visit with patients who are dying. Jesus himself as he prayed alone in the garden hours before his betrayal and death asked God to allow this to pass from him.
I wish that I could say that I have found the perfect words to share that would help to calm this fear, but I haven't. Even after years of being with people as they are dying, in the end, it all is the same. The difference is how we relate the death to one another, and whether the person died peacefully, or what we often say, "died well."
Each of us must have the same courage that Jesus did to ask God to overwhelmingly overtake our life, and our dying, so that in death we find the peace that we seek, while trusting in each moment in the process of our dying.
As we pray for God's presence, now and at the hour of our death, our ability to have complete trust when our time does come, will make the journey to our new life less fearful.
Stay in God's grip!
G. Todd Williams (c) 2018
Rev. G. Todd Williams lives in the Houston metro area and is a Hospice Chaplain and ordained Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) pastor.