What do you find mysterious about death?
There are many TV shows and movies being made that deal with illnesses, diseases, and events that lead to zombie-like conditions, sicknesses and plagues that threaten the entire human species, and dire predictions about our future. Current world events contribute to worries about safety, shaky solutions to vexing issues like terrorism, and ultimately, peace of mind. Magazines and stations like PBS produce articles and commentary about “Dying on Your Own Terms.”
It seems more and more people are thinking and talking about how they are going to die. For all the advantages of modern science, including the many medical discoveries that bring huge benefits (the greatest being extending life), they have also made it harder to die.
As a result, the truth is that many citizens of the United States (and other western nations) will die in some health-related institution, connected to machines. Most people, I believe, would prefer to come to the end of their lives in the presence of family and friends, but end-of-life decisions are often out of the patient’s control due to poor planning.
As more and more Baby Boomers approach the final exit sign, they are seeking ways to remove the uncertainty. End of life directives, wills and trusts, and discussing end of life situations with loved ones are steps all of us should pursue. Yet the reality is many do not prepare for the end.
Many of us have experienced the death of a family member, and some the premature end of a friend’s life. Yet while attending the funeral of someone brings the issue of our own mortality to light, many tend to push away the feelings and thoughts of death to another day.
The discussion even feels a bit futile. We know we are all going to die, but no one comes up with an ideal scenario that seems to fit, a pathway that works, or a timeline that is acceptable. Even folks who had an out-of-body experience describe how they knew they were never completely gone. Such a wide amount of personal stories doesn’t seem to encourage us to plan ahead. So I suggest we plan for our life’s end as mentioned above to be good stewards, but to talk about life instead. To be more precise, what does a life well lived look like?
Read Psalm 39.
The author, David, King of Israel, recognized how you live really dictates how you die. That is why he knew where to look in the Old Testament book of Psalms for answers on life and death issues. He wrote in 39:7, “My hope is in the Lord.” After all, without God, it’s impossible to find meaning and purpose for our rather brief time on planet Earth. The Israelites lived with God at the center of their existence and His presence was cultivated in every aspect of their lives.
If we live our life on our own terms and ignore God (and the clues He left for us to follow), we will make some serious mistakes about life that will affect our death. Do not be naïve. Commit your life and ways to the One who sovereignly set the terms for His creation.
Re-read Psalm 39:7. What caused David to make such a claim? How can his words help lessen your fear of death? Walk wisely. When you take death seriously, you’ll take life seriously.
Love is a verb,
©2014 by Mike Olejarz