My Aunt Helen passed away on Friday, just short of her 80th birthday. We got the news that she was taken to the hospital while we were in Florida, and that the situation was dire. Somehow it's easier when you get a bit of warning. And then again, it's harder.
There seems to be no good way of leaving this world and making it easier on those left behind. An accidental passing is such a shock. A drawn out illness, even with a peaceful passing at the end, is heartbreaking. Watching someone lose their mental faculties is probably the worst. An older gentleman from church passed away the same day my Aunt Helen did. He's been in a nursing home far too long. It was difficult for his children when he didn't know them, but it was devastating when, toward the end, instead of asking "Who are you?" he asked, "Who am I?" Jesus answered that question for him on Friday. He surely told him, "You are Art, my servant and my son. Welcome home."
But what about those who never sought Jesus out during their busy lives? I believe in those last days He gives them one more chance to reach out and take that gift of eternal life. That's how I comfort myself when someone lingers through the last stages of a terminal illness. Because...when my brother was dying and I felt hopeless, God comforted me. There were no audible words, but His Spirit communed with my spirit and told me, "It's okay." My overwhelming sadness dissipated because, hey, if God says it's okay, who am I to question that? I found peace. I believe without a doubt that my brother did too. I still miss him, but I have confidence in a grand reunion...beyond the horizon...over the rainbow...out of this world.