A FEW THOUGHTS ON DEATH AND DYING
Mother passed. Easily. In her sleep. With a minimum of pain.
When she was diagnosed with inoperable stomach cancer we consulted two oncologists. Both described a regimen of chemotherapy that would have been hard on an eighty-six year old body with no guarantee of more than a few more months of survival. So we opted to let it run it’s course, knowing the end results.
Here’s the thing—no one gets out of here alive. When she was first diagnosed I wondered how many people die of natural causes. It turns out that most do. Unless you die in an accident or are murdered, you will die of natural causes. Doctors call cancer, diabetes, heart attacks, etc. diseases of old age. Your body has a definite shelf life. It wears out. You go on to your next assignment.
I believe in eternal life. It’s not a hope—it’s a certainty. There are three reasons that I believe this, beyond the fact that, (like most people, saints, sinners, and in between), I want to believe in eternal life.
I believe in eternal life because of the Laws of Thermodynamics. The first Law—The Law of Entropy—says that when a system is put in place entropy begins to set in and with it decay. You’re born with a body, and it begins to wear out. The second Law—The Law of Conservation of Energy—says that energy doesn’t die, it changes. As an energy being you can’t “die”, but you will be changed.
The second reason that I believe in eternal life borders between anecdotal and empirical. Anecdotal because we’ve all heard the stories of people leaving their bodies in a medical emergency and then being drawn back in as their bodies were resuscitated. Empirical because they all describe virtually the same scenarios.
One of my Staff Pastor’s father had such an experience. He was given a massive dose of antibiotic that he was allergic to, coded on the table, left his body, looked down upon the doctors trying to revive him, heard a voice that said, “It’s not your time yet”, and felt himself drawn back into his body. They revived him and he told the story, concluding with, “I’ll never be afraid of death again.” And he wasn’t.
The third reason that I believe in eternal life has to do with spiritual experience and the testimony of scripture. I’ve had spiritual experiences, been caught up into the Heavenlies on three occasions, heard the audible voice of God, and seen demonstrable miracles. But spiritual experiences are subjective and not objective—they’re my experiences and may not be valid for you. So we look to scripture.
A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, I was having a minor crisis of faith because I was told the scripture was infallible and inerrant. As I read the Bible I saw discrepancies, contradictions, and a few other issues. (Ever consider the “Cretan Paradox?”) So, I was havinga crisis. One day in prayer the Lord spoke to me, (inwardly, not audibly), and said, “If you get the resurrection settled everything else will fall into place.” So, I studied the resurrection until I had it settled. And if you read the Gospel accounts, along with Paul’s Corinthian defense of the resurrection the evidence demands a verdict—and the only verdict that you can come to is that Jesus did actually rise from the dead. A few years later I heard the late, great, Dr. Gene Scott preach his masterful sermon—“Eight Proofs Of The Resurrection.” It merely confirmed what I had already concluded—the resurrection is a reality and once you’ve crossed that Rubicon anything is possible. Life is eternal.
So, Mother lives on. Someone asked, “How is she?” People speculate what the afterlife is like. Most of the Biblical allusions are metaphorical. The early church fathers taught that everyone in heaven is thirty-three years old—that age that Jesus was crucified and resurrected. That works for me—I have a portrait of the Beautiful Lady and myself at the ages of thirty-four and thirty-two and we looked really good. I can live with thirty-three forever. But there is a far clearer picture found in Jesus after His resurrection. What did He look like? On half of the times that He appeared to His disciples the scripture records that they didn’t recognize Him. (Why? The answer is found in my book “Invisible Lines Of Supply.) He appeared however He chose to appear. A being made of energy can assume any form they want—or no form at all.
Mother always said that she may have been eighty-six on the outside but she was sixteen on the inside. And I suppose that’s how she is—sixteen, riding a horse, enjoying eternity. What will she be later? Who knows? That’s the beauty of eternal life—you’ve got eternity to live.
Join me “Behind The Door” for some practical things that you need to think about death and dying. It’s not morbid. It won’t bring you down. But it will make things easier for you and your loved ones. Remember—no one gets out of here alive. If you have the password you can go “Behind The Door” right now. If you don’t have the password, hit the “Sowing” button, sow a seed of any side into the ministry, (the default setting is twenty dollars but many of my partners that recognize the value of what I share sow more), and the password will be automatically sent via email. The password is good for the entire month. I’ll meet you “Behind The Door.”