On May 17, 1994, while volunteering for the Shawnee hospice program, I was involved in the awesome responsibility of preparing a dying man and his family for his anticipated death. However, on this day, the man died. He died three months before he was predicted to have died. This man’s dying, as a result of cancer, was tragedic in that during my counseling with him, he rejected Jesus Christ. Yet, as he was breathing his last, I watched this man sit up suddenly then state, “Oh, my God!” then die. At the time and since, I wondered what this man experienced.
Years following this tragedy, I recalled the theologian Augustine of Hippo’s thoughts in his essay “The City of God.” Augustine wrote, “The end of one’s life puts the longest life on equal footing with the shortest… Death becomes a frightening evil event only by the retribution that follows it. All who die need not inquire about what death they are to die but in what place the moment of death will usher them.”
It is not this writer’s intent to determine where this man has gone to spend his eternity. This is between this man and God. The writer can only speculate as to what the man experienced or saw in his dying moment. We who are Christian and trust Jesus Christ believe the moment of death is not like an executioner dragging a screaming, unwilling victim to his execution and demise but a beautiful walk to the presence, love and majesty of the Lord to receive our crown of glory after running the race of this earthly life.
Every Christian need not fear the hour of their death when it comes. Paul the Apostle wrote in his 2nd letter to the Corinthians, “Death is swallowed up in victory. O Death, where is your sting? Death where is your victory? But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (15: 54-57).
There is no reason why every Christian cannot express, with confidence, what Paul wrote some 21 centuries ago! Christ’s death and more so His victorious Resurrection places hope in an immensely better life than the one experienced at this time. We who place our faith in Jesus Christ can look at our life as not the end but a continuous life in heavenly bliss!
A great subject for a devotional Stephen. I'm glad as Christians we have the assured confidence that Christians do not die - they just graduate!!! We are just simply passing through our final exams here on earth ready for the rapture and the glorious return of our LORD and Saviour Jesus Christ!! God bless, a good article!!