Death, Dying, and Hope

I just found out that a faithful minister who served at my church and throughout the world went to be with the Lord after a short, intense course of treatment for stage IV colon cancer. I still am in shock. My heart aches for his family, and I know many, many people around the world have heard and are saddened to hear the news. This brother served with everything in him, and his strength was from the Lord. The fire he had inside him for the Lord, the things of the Lord, and the God’s people never dimmed, even in his last days. When I think of his ministry, I see a testimony of how God loves His Church and how the Lord works for His people. It is a somber time, but it is also a time where we can have peace because we know he is now with our Lord.

His passing, I feel, is a wake up call. Our days on earth are numbered, so what does it mean to make our days count? If my goal is to gain Christ, how should I spend my days so that at the end of my life, be it soon or far away, God is pleased with me?  When others look at me, do they see a person owned by the world or do they see a reflection of Christ?

I often think that since I am young, I have many years yet to live. But really, who knows? My grandfather was born the same year as the brother I mentioned but he passed away from liver cancer when he was 44 years old. The other day we had a patient who suddenly had a cardiac arrest while she was at home, and after about two hours of trying to resuscitate her, she was pronounced. A friend asked me about how it affected me morally to witness death, and I responded that since I didn’t see the patient alive because she was brought in unconscious, I was okay. What affected me more was seeing the patient’s family members weeping and asking us to just try one more time to bring her back. During a discussion with my classmates and professors today, death and dying was brought up and there was a consensus that in the field it’s completely different to see the test questions manifest as life and death situations and it can be hard to handle.

My head is all over the place, but I hope the thoughts of my heart have come through. Life is not easy, whether it’s my own life or the lives that I take care of. It is fragile and it is short, but it is also full and precious and a gift. It is a chance to experience all that God created and it is a time to find and fulfill purpose. Though I am currently a physician assistant student, I am also a daughter, sister, friend, classmate, stranger, etc. and in my life I’d like those around me to at least have a glimpse of the wonder, grace and love of Christ through my actions and interactions.

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