I stood at the side of the hospital bed when a man who was a member of my church lay dying from a long-suffering illness. I was holding hands with his wife and daughter. We watched as he struggled at times to breathe. The doctor had placed him on morphine to help him deal with the pain. Once the pain become so unbearable, he increased the dosage. With the increase in dosage, he slipped into a comatose state and became almost completely motionless. We watched as each breath seemed to take longer to exhale and wondering if he would inhale again.
Not all patients die the same way, as I have stood at the side of many patients as they drew their last breath. I’ve held the patient’s hand and prayed with the siblings or children as life slipped out of this world and into the hands of the Father in heaven. Yes, it hurts to watch a person lying there as their life on earth comes to an end. When we hurt deep down inside our soul, we often cry. When Jesus came to Mary, the sister of Lazarus, she was weeping along with the Jews who were with her. In John 11:35 it says “Jesus wept.” So it’s ok to cry. Cry all you need to. Jesus cried because He was hurt and because He was Lazarus’ friend. It’s ok to hurt and it’s ok to cry.
We grieve several times when a loved one is dying. But most importantly we cry before and after a loved one dies. Grieving is the natural process of life. We never want to see a loved one suffer so we grieve. We never want to lose a loved one, but when they die, we grieve. We grieve because they’re gone from this life. We will never again see them in this life. However, Jesus said in John 14:2-3, “. . . I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.” Those are the most encouraging words a Christian wants to hear.
We’ve heard it said by the Apostle Paul in 2 Corinthians 5:8, “. . . to be absent from the body and to be at home with the Lord.” Although this is without some controversy, let me say that it is of my opinion, that when we die, our soul is disembodied from this body and exists in a separate state; not in a state of inactivity or sleep, for that would be undesirable, but of happiness and glory, enjoying the presence of God, and praising Him, believing and waiting for the resurrection body, when both will be united together and no longer absent. I don’t believe God would leave us in a state of in between. Hallelujah!