Well you’ve heard the expression ‘end of …’ meaning ‘that’s it !” meaning : ill hear no more of it or meaning, I don’t intend to say another word on it… Well today I want to use the expression end of but in terms of end of life.
End of life , is a relatively new phrase introduced as a dignified terminology for those or their loved ones dealing with a diagnosis of incurable terminal cancer and having not many days to go. We all know that death for all of us is inevitable. Indeed, I lost my eldest daughter suddenly with no warning. Then, there was no end of life discussion , she was here one hour and gone the next without, warning and in her prime. The Bible does say it is appointed unto man once to die, but many of us don’t know when or how. To know your last days on earth is imminent must be something else, especially if you don’t know where you will spend eternity for the soul never dies.
My second eldest brother died last year to cancer. That’s was the first time I became aware of end of life pathway and all that goes with that. Like a number of men , my brother didn’t seek help when he was feeling unwell, preferring to brave out whatever he was struggling with. He was a bit of a free spirit, our Charlie, he never stayed in one place long enough for one to know what he was doing or up to … Always smiling , never having a bad word to say about anyone. A real peace maker. He looked okay on the outside. By the time he did stand still long enough to be seen by a consultant, the cancer had spread and advancing, with a prognosis of weeks not years.
We did all we could to make his last few days as comfortable as one can. We used what was at our disposal and we challenged some of the statutory norms and arrangements. We were able to bring him home closer to us for end of life care.
Thanks be to God he humbled himself just in time to acknowledge the Lord Jesus as his Lord and Savior and the only Shepherd that can bring comfort at the end of days. Charlie had always known about Jesus but had not received him. Instead , he had put Haile Selassie at the fore front, as his ‘god’ if you like. For most of his adult years, he lived as a Rastafarian . Thanks be to God he had sufficient faculty at the end (the cancer had spread to parts of his brain) to understand and accept the Lord Jesus Christ and I witness of that blessed grace received just in time.
It is appointed unto man once to die but after death the judgment. Hebrews 9:27
My brother was laid to rest just under a year now (Sep 3), but i am brought back with a jolt hearing the news that someone else i know very well is also being prepared for ‘end of life’ the doctors feeling they can do more more. She is relatively young and my heart is again pained. I have attempted to go see her, but was promptly told and incredulously ‘she’s end of life ‘ them meaning : she wont want anyone seeing her, or what is the point? End of…
It is so sad and I am not able to push in this scenario. My other close friend passed this way, but some years now, but I was able to visit her and hug her and pray with her. I don’t pretend to be an expert on how to act or respond in these situations, but what I know is my heart is extremely touched.
As I lay on my bed this week in the year of our Lord 2019, I began to ponder what it must feel like to be given such a report ie days to live. How does a human being deal with this? How? How does one reconcile news that there will be a time very soon … when your eyes will close and you will leave this earth forever?
The Holy Ghost brought back the Apostle Paul to me as an example and encouragement of the difference between the response to end of life as a child of God, to those who don’t know Him and his promises. At the end of his days and incarceration, the Apostle Paul knew he didn’t have long; his life was to be taken, nay as he puts it ‘ready to be offered’ ie. Hexess the one laying it down. But look at his testimony – look at what he said :
‘ …..the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness’
2 Timothy 4:7
What confidence. What faith. What blessed hope and calling.
When my time comes, this is how I want to go. With my shield in my hand (my faith) and my head held high, (my crown) looking up to Jesus the author and finisher of my faith. Not for me the end of life in how we understand that pathway and terminology , but job well done , heading home, I have somewhere to be…
For the Christian, the end of life here, is the beginning of life there (in glory) with Him our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. The Bible says ‘ to be absent in the body, is to present with the Lord’ 2 Corinthians 5:8.
So brethren, let us live our lives well in preparation of that blessed hope. Knowing that the day is fast approaching and that he has gone to prepare a place for us because he loves us . A place where (as Revelation 21:4 says) there is no more sickness, no more heartache, no more tears, no more suffering, no more dying. We shall reign with Him. That’s what he has promised. Let us also (whenever we have opportunity) share the good news with that somebody, before it is too late.
Yours in His Name