I realize that death and dying are uncomfortable subjects. I am blogging about them anyway, because they are pertinent today. Last week I consoled a long time friend who is thousands of miles away, but so close to my heart. She lost her son nearly twenty years ago when he was only eighteen, ready to begin his adult life with nothing but the future full of possibilities. Then he tragically drowned. I remember the day well. On the date of his death, all these years later, I could feel his mother’s pain, and as I was lifting her up in prayer, I received words of comfort to pass on to her.
Last week I also lost a dear and precious friend of mine to cancer. She was a warrior and the hero of many during her courageous battle. Two weeks before her death, I took her to the hospital for treatment. She was so frail, and barely able to walk. Knowing that she would soon require a wheelchair, I remembered a sad day two years ago with her. A friend of ours had died in a motorcycle accident only a few miles up the road from the villa where I live.
As we sat through his memorial in the church, a mutual friend of ours in attendance wheeled her husband through the entrance in a wheelchair. My friend and I looked at each other thinking the same thing. The man in the wheelchair would be next. He was battling cancer of the pancreas, liver and kidneys. His days were numbered. Within a month, he was gone.
It’s Hard to Watch People Die
As I looked at my friend struggling for survival, for oxygen, I knew it would soon be her turn. When I said goodbye to her that night, I knew it would be the last time I ever saw her this side of heaven. Now she is gone, and her memorial is coming up. Over the course of these past couple of weeks, I have empathized with my friend’s daughter, whom she leaves behind, as I have retreated to the saddest day of my life.
This would be the day I lost my mother to cancer when I was 19.
Over the past year, I have been reading The Doorway Papers by Arthur Custance. There are several volumes in this collection, one of them covering the subject of death. There are some jaw-dropping insights on the subject of death in one chapter of the book. I have found these insights timely, because I have been focusing on what I have learned over the past couple of weeks from reading. It has given me comfort.
Finding Comfort in Death and Dying
Just on a hunch that these insights might comfort someone out there reading this who has lost a loved one or who is about to die, I will share them with you.
The material that Custance covers is quite lengthy and heady and takes a lot of knowledge to digest. I will just give you a drive-thru glimpse, hoping I haven’t under emphasized the subject. For starters, Custance says death is not inevitable.
How can this be?
To help explain what I am saying, a great example to help this idea sink in is by looking at trees. Trees are some of the oldest living things on the planet. Trees would actually live forever if they didn’t contact disease. Plants, too, in general. Trees don’t suddenly fall over and die from old age.
Custance says, “The Plan of Redemption depends upon the fact that Adam was created possessing physical immortality that is, not that death was not possible but only that is was not inevitable.”
The Perfect Man
Adam and Eve were designed perfect. Absolutely perfect. All of their organs, their bones, their body systems, everything was created and designed to be eternal. Just one bite of the forbidden fruit poisoned them, and death was instant. From the moment Eve bit the fruit, she looked different. Dead. When Adam came upon her after that trespass, he only had to look at her and he would be able to see what she had done.
The glow of eternity had gone from her.
Adam and Eve, God said upon completion of crafting them, were “Very good.” They were perfect humans. When we look at each other today and think we are seeing “men” and “women”, we aren’t. We have never seen a true man or a true woman. We are seeing a defect.
In an instant, Adam and Eve went from being “very good” to being “dead” and “dying.”
The Son of God – The Son of Man
If you don’t believe in Jesus, you should, because He, the Son of God, was also a descendent of Adam, was begotten as the New Adam. He was made human, and perfect, just like Adam, and finished what Adam did not. A perfect life. Because He came to sacrifice his life, to stand in our place in the face of eternal death, He took the chains of eternity apart from God from us, closing the great divide between humanity and its Creator to all who would behold Him.
In order to better understand what happens to our flesh when we die, when we breathe our last, we must have some grasp of Time. This is because our spirit leaves the flesh when we exhale for the last time. From that point, we are without borders. If you fear this, read on.
Death in Time
This unfathomable thing called “Time” is the key to our comfort. Time is something that actually frightens me. In fact, I titled my last CD, Forever, after Time, because of this fact. I cannot comprehend Forever. If Forever isn’t hard enough for me to get my head around, I have to try to comprehend Time.
Death and Time are hand in hand.
This is because God sits outside of Time. It is part of His creation, and it is intended to help us manage life on Earth. But only life on Earth. Once our body dies, our spirit is released.
Remember what Peter said in his epistle about Time? To God one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. Remember what Jesus said about the dead? They aren’t really dead as humans conceive of death. They are only sleeping. This is factual. It wasn’t Jesus trying to soften the blow of death.
Our beloved are in a state of deep sleep. Their spirits have left their bodies. To me, my mother has been dead for decades. But when she died, she left behind her the boundaries and borders of Time.
Saying Goodbye and then Hello
At the risk of sounding so far gone on this, stay with me. Think about it if you can. The dead don’t miss the living, because once they die, they are instantly with us again, and us with them. When you die, you will be reunited with your loved ones. I will be reunited with my mother, and it will be like all these decades had never kept us apart. I take great comfort in that.
“I suppose that between death and the resurrection of the body we are without consciousness of time of any kind, because we are not part of either our world or that other world: but this does not make any difference, of course, to the continuance of the reality of either world. It is quite possible for a particular individual to have no experience whatever of the passage of time while others are very much aware of it. This is true when we are asleep or in a coma or unconscious for any reason. The only thing we can say is that in some way the eclipse of time under such conditions is not frightening, and we almost at once pick up the threads again, so that the possibility of an interval of time not experienced should not be an occasion for any fear,” say Custance in the Doorway Papers.
I find these words fascinating, and equally challenging. And I will look at this concept of Time, along with Eternity, in a couple of weeks. I need some more “time” to understand and digest all that I have learned so that I can write it in some comprehensible fashion! Until then, I hope this brings some comfort to you. I leave you with a closing thought.
Custance says, “The Lord after His resurrection evidently moved in a world which was constituted differently. It was a real world, but a world with a different kind of reality: a spatial world, but a world with a different kind of space. Being a world with a different kind of space, it was presumably a world with a different kind of time…The world in which the resurrected Lord was (and is) living evidently so corresponded in its arrangements to our world that interaction was natural between the two. Yet it was a world which transcended ours in that our world’s limitations were not its limitations. It involved a sequence of events, and therefore some kind of time order also that corresponds to what we experience and yet transcends the time frame of our world because it transcends the spatial order of our world.”
Written by Jori Sams
Jori Sams is a Christian author and freelance writer with nearly 2000 published pieces on the Internet, with over 1500 being published by Yahoo. Her books are published through Writeious Books. When she isn’t writing, you can usually find her following the sun…