A Lingering Fear: When A Person Near Death Must Leave Loved Ones BehindClearly Caring Magazine-Parish Edition (Heaven Bound), 2010
Even the strongest Christian can hold out one lingering fear about the prospect of facing death: concern for those left behind.
Perhaps those nearing the end of life have become the oracle of wisdom for grandchildren walking through the minefield of temptations. Maybe that person is the reliable spouse and companion who handles the everyday details.
As the rock in a rocky family and the steady hand for those frightened by the challenges around them, how will loved ones get along without those who are now facing death?
The Apostle Paul said this: I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far; but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body (Philippians 1:23,24). Paul was not making a choice between living or dying, but he was able to choose how to view death and life.
In death, eternity with Christ in heaven is understood as “better by far” when viewed through the eyes of faith. During Paul’s life, he found that his faith compelled him to serve others. Each new day of life on this earth served as evidence to Paul that, in God’s eyes, it was more necessary for him to remain – if even for one more day.
When death approaches, the Christian can no more ignore those who depended on him in life’s closing moments than in the prime of life. It is natural that the care of family weighs on one’s mind, and with each breath of life it is obvious God feels the necessity to allow a person to remain with those they love and serve.
But the God who sacrificed His own Son for a Christian’s salvation and who committed to work all things out for their good, certainly would not forget about family.That is a given. Yet, we still doubt and worry.
That is where fellow Christians come in. What have we done to assure others that when death approaches, we will care for those left behind? Have we demonstrated our concern in the best of times to assure that we will also be there in the worst of times?
Death should not be clouded with apprehensions of how our survivors will handle their lives when we are gone. God’s promises are certain, and He cares. The love of fellow Christians ought to be equally certain which demonstrates a lifetime of loving acts so that in death there are never any lingering fears.
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