Last month my mom said, “This business of dying is harder work than being born.”
She’s right. It’s hard work for the one who is dying, but it’s especially hard work for the friends and family left after the death.
In the last year, I’ve had friends mourn family members who died from COVID. I’ve watched my Mom make the hard decisions about hospice for my Dad, just months after he was diagnosed with cancer. I’ve watched my husband’s family mourn the death of their matriarch, Deea. I’ve had High School classmates die from suicide and cancer.
The business of dying is hard work.
So is the business of living.
In each scenario where someone has died, there are families and friends doing the hard work of continuing to live…paying bills, going to school or work, loving children, putting on a smile…all while grappling with the very real stages of grieving. In the scenario where a spouse becomes a caretaker, it’s hard work to keep living…to juggle the knowledge that you aren’t a medically trained professional, but you are expected to advocate for your loved one. In the instances where we just want to give up, it’s hard work to keep trucking along…to keep putting one foot in front of the other while wanting to scream profanities into your pillow.
In John 10:10 (NASB) scripture tells us “The thief comes only to steal, and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”
In this verse, Jesus promises that He’s come so that we’ll have life to the fullest. We’re warned against an enemy whose primary mission is to steal our joy and taint our memories through destruction. How can we have that promise of a full life?
When we choose to intentionally make God the foundation of our lives, we receive clarity about the hard work of living. As we walk through creating focus on Jesus, we are able to see ourselves making it through the “narrow gate” that is discussed in Matthew 7. Through that scripture we are able to see a few foundational principles. 1. The rightful place of God is on the throne of our lives. 2. Jesus Christ and our faith in Him is the requirement for entry into heaven. 3. As Lord of our lives, Jesus allows us to focus on Him, which then allows all other priorities to become easier to walk through.
This doesn’t mean we won’t have strife and trials. It does not mean that we won’t grieve the deaths of those around us. It certainly doesn’t mean that we won’t be anguished and full of questions when struggling with all the issues around dying.
It does mean that we can have comfort, peace, love, and even joy in the midst of those horrible moments…if only we allow Jesus to help us with these difficulties.
You see, both dying and living are hard work.
But both can be made slightly easier with our reliance on Christ.
I’m praying this week for each of us who are facing or have faced death recently. Specifically, I’m praying that we each find comfort in knowing God is walking right beside us in these trials.