Facing Death

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My life constantly hangs in the balance. Psalm 119:109 (NLT).

Life is fragile and death is certain. When I was young I hardly ever thought about death, but as I grow older I’m more aware of my mortality and think about death more frequently.

Facing death. Some people get to a point where they give up on life. They stop living, look back instead of forward, start complaining and stop coping. Never ever give up on life. Life is meant to be lived to the full – to the very end.

About seven years before my father died the doctor said he had two years to live. I’ve often wondered what went through my father’s mind knowing he didn’t have long to live. While I don’t know what he was thinking, I do know he tried to hang onto life for all it was worth. He took more vitamins, health supplements, and alternative medicines than I could have possibly imagined. No cost was spared. After he died I threw out thousands of dollars worth of potions, powders, pills, and purgatives.

Sometimes a person knows more or less when they’re going to die. When a person is in their nineties they know they haven’t got long to go. When a person is diagnosed with terminal cancer, aids, or severe respiratory or circulatory problems, they know their days are numbered. And when a person’s neighbourhood is under constant rocket or mortar fire, like we’ve seen in wars in the Middle East, they know death is closer than it ever was before.

I’ve known a number of people who knew the end was near. Some were terrified, some ambivalent, some matter of fact, and some peaceful. So how does one live life to the end? How does one make every second count until one slips away? More importantly for Christians, how does one live “… so that the life of Jesus will be obvious in our dying bodies”? 2 Corinthians 4:11 (NLT).

The medical missionary, Albert Schweitzer, said, “Thinking about death … produces love for life. When we are familiar with death, we accept each week, each day, as a gift. Only if we are able thus to accept life – bit by bit – does it become precious.”

So how should a Christian live in the face of death? By living blamelessly, praying, and trusting continually. Jude 1:20-21 says, “But you, dear friends, must continue to build your lives on the foundation of your holy faith. And continue to pray as you are directed by the Holy Spirit. Live in such a way that God’s love can bless you as you wait for the eternal life that our Lord Jesus Christ in his mercy is going to give you” (NLT).