For this is God, our God forever and ever; He will be our guide even to death. Psalm 48:14 NKJV
My father-in-law was dying of esophageal cancer. We heard the news at our grandfather’s funeral.
While we grieved the loss of one well-loved man, we were simultaneously projected ahead to the loss of another. It was in one of those moments when our feelings get all mixed up with facts and everything blurs together.
During the final five months of his life, my father-in-law, a man who had struggled with depression his entire adult life, fought the good fight—physically—emotionally—spiritually. He underwent every chemo and radiation process with more courage than I can imagine enduring. There was never a complaint.
I marveled at how well he accepted his terminal diagnosis and the grueling treatment plan that only promised to add a few brief months to his life. For a man so given to long bouts of emotional despair, I feared the worst for him. But I was never more wrong.
Beyond explanation, he seemed to thrive during those precious last weeks and months on earth. I was able to spend considerable time with my father-in-law, driving him back and forth to radiation treatments, to doctor’s appointments, or just to run errands.
Even now, I shake my head in amazement that this man whom I had known for over twenty-five years could (and would) endure certain death with such poise and peace. Rather than us comforting him, he comforted us.
Scripture tells us God Himself will be our guide even to death. He’ll walk us through every moment. There was such grace—the kind only God can supply—during those terrible hours of suffering. Every day he died a bit more, but the memory of these precious moments and conversations can still stop me in my tracks when something reminds me how much I gained personally from our talks.
Somehow his patience with the horrifying painful process, and his courage to face death itself, was remarkable. So much so that I remember with far greater fondness how he died than how he lived. My father-in-law walked with God as his guide and God led him with grace.
When life-ending days face a loved one, reach out to the God who promises to guide us…even into death. Remember, God promised to be with you until your last day on earth. Let this good ending keep you going when you want to give up.
The Gift of a Good Death is an excerpt from Michele’s new book, One Size Fits All, published by Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas. It is now available at www.amazon.com.
Michele Howe is the author of twelve books for women and has published over 1600 articles, reviews, and curriculum for more than 100 different publications. Her single-parenting titles include, Going It Alone and Still Going It Alone. After six shoulder surgeries, Michele co-authored, Burdens Do a Body Good: Meeting Life’s Challenges with Strength (and Soul), and Prescription for Life. Faith, Friends, and Other Floatation Devices will be published in 2013 by ACTA Publications. To learn more, visit http://michelehowe.wordpress.com or contact Michele at: email@example.com.