Her breathing labored, her skin sallow, she is but a shadow of the vivacious woman whose laughter resonated around the room at family gatherings. Those who love her come and go, trying to capture one last visit, one last embrace. They wait and watch.
Death isn’t easy. Not for the one dying, nor for those standing by the bedside. Those who are dying are spiritual beings wrestling free from a body that groans in a world marred by sin (Romans 8:20-23). Understandably, we grasp for more time when the life of someone we love hangs in the balance. Even if the relationship has been difficult, we hesitate to let go—remembering what has been or hoping for what might still be.
Every person must face death, and with it the judgment of God (2 Corinthians 5:10). For the believer, death isn’t a punishment. Instead, it brings us into the very presence of the One for whom we were made. To those who have received salvation in Jesus, even the unknowns of death don’t produce fear. This applies to us personally and also when we witness someone we love taking his or her last breath (1 Thessalonians 4:13, 5:10). We were made for life, not death (2 Corinthians 5:4).
Though we may question God’s timing, His decisions, or His methods, we don’t run in fear or shake our fist at God when we’re forced to walk through the dark valley of death. The call of heaven is the hope-inspiring message of life in Christ, whether in death or life. Strength becomes real when, even in our grief, we choose to worship with our words, our actions, our very lives. We can triumph over darkness and despair as we firmly grasp the reality that we’re no longer living for ourselves, for we’re alive in Jesus (2 Corinthians 5:7-9).