Are you truly ready to meet the Lord?
The Gift of Life…
"Jesus said to them, 'I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.' John 6:35 NIV
Life is like a fragile flower whose pedals eventually fall and wither away. This unique and special gift from God is a once in a lifetime experience, never take it for granted. We are to enjoy the gift of life (Ecclesiastes 8:15) and in doing so bring joy, love and forgiveness toward others along the way. Some use their moment in time wisely and sadly many more do not. No one knows the time and day when we are to leave this side of heaven.
Ask yourself, have you made peace with those in your life? Have you repented and accepted the Lord into your life? Are you truly ready to meet the Lord?
Recently I held an intimate encounter, a beautiful moment, when witnessing the passing of a loved one from physical death to eternal life into the arms of Jesus. Funny, I was always one who never sought to be in the same room with another who is transitioning from this life to the next. Call it nerves. I would rather view death from a distance. This experience was different. Allow me to share.
God answered prayers.
We just received wonderful news he would be moved to Clarity Hospice in Baton Rouge. He smiled for the first time in days. Four years prior his beloved mother passed away of the same illness but within a nursing home and against his protest.
I arrived 15 minutes before his ambulance. I began praying in his hospice room, “Lord give me strength for my best friend and love of five wonderful years would be leaving me soon.” Up until now caring for him (with unconditional love) was routine with the assurance of a successful recovery and return home. Not this time. There was nothing more that could be done according to man. We still held out hope. Through prayer and belief all things are possible through Christ Jesus (Isaiah 53:4-5).
The staff was a godsend as if the Lord provided angels just for him. Later I came to learn they were there for me too. The pain at times was unbearable; I saw it in his eyes. It was extremely difficult for him to speak due to his condition. I had relied on my personal knowledge of him to relay to the nurses what was needed. It amazes me how in tune he and I became that words were no longer required to meet his needs at that moment. It is that way with the lord. He knows what we need before a word could ever be spoken (Psalm 139:4).
His rest that evening was made comfortable through the administration of medication. The staff and I would rotate his body ever so many hours to prevent bed sores and stiffness. It killed me to hear his anguish when moved. He understood it was for his own good. When we hurt and experience many trials in life, remember it is allowed by God for our good (James 1:2).
Throughout the day his body was taking over on its own accord. His liver ceased working. His pain and breathing increased. A patch was placed behind his ear to assist with the inevitable process to come. The nurse returned to give me "Gone From My Sight: The Dying Experience," well known in end of life education as “The Little Blue Book.” The easy to read booklet prepared me in more ways than can be explained. Once again God had me in mind as well during this journey (Deuteronomy 31:6). We shared moments of limited communication. I prayed over him while wiping his brow. Then I silently sat by his side, looking into his eyes, for all the love we held for one another was there within them.
His pastor and others from his home church visited and prayed over him (he, too, was an associate pastor at his church). I stepped out to give everyone privacy. Through the haze of pain and discomfort the Lord showed mercy and allowed him to become extremely alert, to interact in limited verbal communication with his visitors. He laughed, joked and smiled. I was stunned.
You must understand up to this point he was in-and- out in a haze of disorientation. On a few occasions I was keenly aware when he saw into heaven. How? I will explain shortly.
An hour later we settled back down to find his much needed rest. After bathing his aching limbs, exercising his joints through his own strength of mobility and clearing his throat of buildup of bile, his mouth was filled with moisture due to the inability to swallow a single sip of water. He drifted off to sleep but not before I caught a wonderful sight. I held his hands within mine and watched as his eyes once again glazed over as a white film covered his cornea. I could sense he was seeing into the spiritual realm. His lips were moving expediently fast as in a deep and private conversation with the lord. Then his eyes refocused upon me and drifted on to sleep.
I awoke slightly after midnight from a two-hour nap. I sat beside his bed and held his hand. His breathing became more labored. I called the nurse and was instructed the time has come. I was informed through the blue book and nurse what the final step would be. He tried to say something. I leaned over to hear and with his all his strength he leaned up to kiss my cheek twice before slumping back down. I assured him it was OK to take his rest. It was not a testimony of his failing to trust the lord for a healed body. If he would let go and be with the Lord he actually won and shall receive his new body that now awaits him in heaven. At 5:51 a.m. he released his final breath and made his journey home to be with his Lord.
Though I shared many tears, they were of joy for I knew without a doubt Jeffrey is at home with the Lord!
“Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called and about which you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.” 1 Timothy 6:12
May the lord bless whomever this week’s message needed to touch. Hug, love and forgive before it is too late in this life to do so.
Until next week, go forth and proclaim Jesus as lord.
Contributing Writer Edith Nevis can be reached at 857-2200 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.