Death bed or Death’s Door?

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              When you are getting ready to die, what do you suppose will be on your mind? The moment when you will face God Almighty will be terrifying, no matter how you lived your life.  No matter our priorities, when our lives draw to a close, we will all likely wish we had done more or less of something. We have all invoked ‘the death bed’ at one time or another with our kids; “on your death bed  you won’t wish you had played one more video game” (complete the sentence with your own trivial pursuit).

              Do you think you will wonder if you served God and his kingdom enough?  Will you wonder if God will have you in heaven?  Do you think you will stand before the Creator of the universe and wish you had really put your faith in “saved by grace”? It is hard to answer. And all of us may wonder as we are standing at the door whether we chose the right thing to put our faith in.

              Sometimes I catch myself acting as though the blood of Jesus is the consolation prize.  If all else fails, I have that to offer God when I stand before him. “I guess this will have to do. Sorry God. I don’t have anymore.” I often choose to prioritize other things that seem spiritual, but in the end are far less significant.

              I decided to visit that infamous ‘death bed’ through the experiences of a friend who volunteers with Hospice. She has often been bedside company as people are passing through that door. I asked her what that moment is like in her observation. This is not necessarily the experience of everyone who has been near those who have passed.  This is only what she shared.

              She said many people, as they are approaching death’s door, are heavily medicated, and thus hallucinate. Sometimes they are desperate to find their shoes because they are going, and they “need to get ready”. She said there was one time someone was not hallucinating at all, the person claimed to see someone standing by the bed who was “real”. She knew no one else was in the room with them. In fact they doubted whether she was real, because spiritual people standing by her bed seemed real. The patient simply referred to them as “they”, whether angels or ghosts, they couldn’t say.

              Often the dying will describe hearing the most beautiful music they have ever heard on earth. They reach their hands out, as if reaching toward something. They say their deceased family has come to bring them to heaven.  Others ask to leave. Sometimes when the person has not lived a good life, they do regret not having lived their life for God. Those who have no hope in eternity often appear terrified.  

These words were originally written in Aramaic in 1050 in Germany, by a cantor named Meir Ben Isaac Nehorai They were discovered scrawled on the wall of his cell in an insane asylum after his death. He stood at death’s door and was carried into eternity overwhelmed by the Love of God.

You might find the words familiar

Could we with ink the ocean fill,

and were the skies of parchment made;

were ev’ry stalk on earth a quill,

and ev’ryone a scribe by trade;

to write the love of God above would drain the ocean dry;

nor could the scroll contain the whole,

though stretched from sky to sky.

In 1917 Frederick M Lehman incorporated these words into his song; and wrote the rest of the words;

The Love of God.

The love of God is greater far

Than tongue or pen can ever tell.

It goes beyond the highest star

And reaches to the lowest hell.

The guilty pair, bowed down with care,

God gave His Son to win;

His erring child He reconciled

And pardoned from his sin.

O love of God, how rich and pure!

How measureless and strong!

It shall forevermore endure—

The saints’ and angels’ song.

Verse 2

When hoary time shall pass away,

 And earthly thrones and kingdoms fall;

When men who here refuse to pray,

 On rocks and hills and mountains call;

God’s love, so sure, shall still endure,

 All measureless and strong;

Redeeming grace to Adam’s race—

The saints’ and angels’ song.

Imagine, as the author of this song, stood at death’s door and he stood in awe of the love of God. The blood of God almighty was spilled for you and I. Yet, I wonder if I won’t stand before the Throne of Grace and say to Him, “This is all I have, God. Sorry, I prioritized politics, ending abortion, cleaning up the mess in schools, and making politicians behave themselves. That didn’t work so I guess the blood of this lamb will have to do.”

Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by Him from the wrath of God. – Romans 5:9

God’s love reaches above and over and through all of those trivial things that we think are so important to bring you grace. His blood is all you need. It’s not the backup, nothing else matters. When you stand at the door, all the things you fret and worry about. All the things that keep you up at night, will seem trivial.

Lean on the everlasting arms and rest. Be overwhelmed by His love for you.

“But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”

– 2 Corinthians 12:9