Thoughts on death and dying

We are preparing for a trip to Atlanta in the morning to visit with our great friends, Gary and Ona. Ona has been living with cancer for a few years now and the time has come that she doesn’t have very long to live here on earth. I along with Ona and Gary will be planning for the funeral that is destined to happen in the near future.

First, I can’t imagine the pain and anguish that Ona has experienced with all of this. Second, I can’t imagine the pain and anguish that Gary has experienced in this same time. Gary and Ona have 4 children and several grandchildren that are also going through this experience with them.

Hebrews 2: 14-15 NIV

14Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might destroy him who holds the power of death—that is, the devil— 15and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death.

The Message

14-15Since the children are made of flesh and blood, it’s logical that the Savior took on flesh and blood in order to rescue them by his death. By embracing death, taking it into himself, he destroyed the Devil’s hold on death and freed all who cower through life, scared to death of death.

After visiting with Gary and Ona several times over the years and Ona living with cancer I can attest to the fact that Ona has no fear of death. Of course she would like to be here with her family but she is not afraid of actually dying. Ona knows that she will finally be face to face with Our Lord.

I never really pondered these verses until yesterday when a friend responded to a facebook statementI had made. Why are we so afraid of death? As a Christian there is no fear. There is however great anguish at leaving behind our loved ones. I rest assured that God has taken care of me for 43 years and He is going to care for our loved ones just the same, if we are here or not.

Death is like flying for me. It is not my favorite thing to do but I can do it. I don’t like flying because I like to be in control and when I am flying I have absolutely no control. I don’t know how to fly a plane and I really have no desire to learn. When it comes to death we have absolutely no control. We have advanced in this world to the place where doctors can keep us alive longer but the fact is they cannot stop death from happening. It is like flying for those of us who do not know how to fly.

However, God is the Pilot, the Creator. He knows exactly what is happening and He is in control. Even more than I place my life in the hands of the pilot and trust them to get me to my earthly destination, I can trust God to get me safely to my eternal destination. I think the fear is in the fact that we cannot wrap our minds around the how of all this.

I will be blogging my thoughts the next several days as we are able to visit and talk more about Ona’s home going. This is one of the most awkward things I believe a person could be called upon to participate in and at the same time it is one of the greatest honors one could ever have. I am being allowed into the life and death of a dear friend. What an honor. I do not feel worthy of such an honor, yet I stand in awe of an awesome God that has called me to this task. 

This period of time, the next 4 days and the days that pass until the time the funeral comes will no doubt be a time of stress, pain, anguish, frustration and yet a time of celebration. A celebration that I have been allowed to know and be a friend with Ona for the past 10 years. A celebration that God is allowing me to be with this family at such a difficult time. A celebration that one of God’s children is allowed to teach me and those around her the way that a Christian should die to this life and anticipate the next.

God is the Father who loves us so much more than we love our own children and that is a lot. He can be trusted and He has been preparing us for this time. There is so much to think about. My mind is just racing from one thing to the next, yet it is stalled on this time and this experience that I wish we could avoid. I wish that God would miraciously heal Ona and we wouldn’t be thinking about such things.

This is a time that each and every one of us will have to face. Sooner or later each one of us will have to walk this road.

Are you ready?

Ecclesiastes 7 (The Message)

Don’t Take Anything for Granted
 1 A good reputation is better than a fat bank account. Your death date tells more than your birth date.

 2 You learn more at a funeral than at a feast—
   After all, that’s where we’ll end up. We might discover
      something from it.

 3 Crying is better than laughing.
   It blotches the face but it scours the heart.

My heart is being scoured!


2 comments on “Thoughts on death and dying

  1. March 31, 2009 Kim

    I hope this doesn’t come out wrong, but isn’t wishing God would heal Ona at this time a selfish thing? If Ona is ready and going on to be with God, and that is her ulitmate reward, wouldn’t wishing her to stay here in this world that is not our home be for our own benefit only?
    I pray for Ona a wonderful and easy transition to her real Home! I also pray for those she leaves behind for a time, remembering that we will see her again soon in our eternal home!
    My grandmother wrote this to me and left it in her Bible months before she died:
    “Death is the golden key that opens the door to eternity.” She left with it a blessing for my family written on the back of a bookmark we had given her. I cherish it to this day.
    For us all I pray for joy in perseverance until He returns to take us home! Praise the Lord!
    Thank you Ona for showing us how to trust God in death. Thank you Ronnie, for sharing your heart and allowing us to see God’s wonderful works more clearly!

    • March 31, 2009 imagebearer

      Hey Kim, Thank you for the comment and I understand exactly what you are saying. However I don’t think it is wrong to ask God to leave our loved ones here with us longer. The two examples that I would give are David praying for his child and Jesus Raising Lazarus. I am also ready to go when God calls me home but if I could choose to be here to help family Iwould certainly be torn to do that.


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