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Friday, August 25, 2006

If I Should Die As I Lie Waking...

We have two close friends who recently lost their fathers to cancer. We know another family that is still in the process. But what if you were the one dying, your body slowly succumbing to the ravages of cancer?

Stop and think about it for a moment. What do you want people to say - not just at your funeral, but in the months that precede it, as they walk beside you and watch you waste away, powerless to do anything to stop it.

What would it look like to "die well"? For you? For your family?

That's precisely what the Groves family is facing right now. Al just went through brain surgery yesterday as he battles against an incurable form of melanoma that has moved from his skin to his lungs and now threatens his mind. And the way both he and his family are reacting is an amazing testimony to this man's character and leadership.

If I should die as I lie waking, I hope my daughter will be able to speak from the heart like Al's young Eowyn:
Many people see death as an awful thing, and outside of Christ, it is the worst thing imaginable. However, my dad knows Jesus Christ to be his Lord and Savior. Frequently, people have come up to me and voiced their anger and frustration that “all of this” should be happening to “a good family like yours.”

As much as I appreciate the reference to my loving family, I would like to strongly state: DON’T BE ANGRY WITH GOD ON OUR BEHALF. I think I speak for my whole family when I say that I know that God has a perfect plan, and that He is accomplishing His will with my dad’s cancer. And for my part, I feel like God is giving me a glimpse at that plan.

Throughout my dad’s cancer, so many people have been blessed by his faith through suffering, (myself included in that count). Jesus calls us all to serve Him with all our hearts, he just calls us each to serve Him in different ways. I believe that God is calling my dad to serve Him in the last part of his life by worshiping Him in the midst of suffering. God is using His dutiful servant to then bless everyone else. What greater calling is there than to serve the Lord your God in everything you do? And what greater honor is there than to die for your Lord in a way that will bless His flock?

I am deeply moved by everyone’s prayers for all of us during this trial. I appreciate the prayers for healing, but I would also encourage people to pray that God will complete His purpose with my dad, understanding that He is capable of healing, but that He may have something entirely different in store for my dad. The last thing I would want to see (or that I’m sure my dad would want to see) would be for people to be so caught in praying for healing, that if Jesus chooses to take my dad Home, that people will be bitter and angry with God. I feel that being angry with God on my dad’s behalf would be a disservice and dishonor to my dad, and his willingness to do his Lord’s bidding.

So take heart! Don’t fear death! As Christians, death is really the best gift you could ever receive! My dad will get to go Home to worship His maker, and my dad will feel no pain for all of eternity. He won’t be weighed down by the burdens and sins of this world and longer! Because Jesus died on the cross, death truly has lost its sting. So instead of being sad, please rejoice with me in our loving Father who is perfect, and who has a perfect plan for my earthly father.

With much love and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ,
your sister Eowyn
Those are strong words, folks. Take a few moments and consider the state of your soul. Can you envision yourself uttering these words? What about your children?

What are you doing with your life now to prepare yourself and them for the death which inevitably comes?

Sober thoughts, but these are sober times. I'd encourage you to pray for the Groves family as they walk this dark path, and also to pray for yourself and your own family as well, that we might all be more closely conformed to the image of Christ through suffering...


At 8:15 AM, October 21, 2006, Blogger Steve said...

Three of the most powerful books I have ever read about death and dying are by Ted Menten:
- Gentle Closings - How to Say Goodbye to Someone You Love
- Where Is Heaven? Children's Thoughts on Death and Dying
- The Gentle Closings Companion

They are not religious books - but they reflect truths about living and dying that are often forgotten in the "we've just got to keep this person alive" world of modern medicine. They're available dirt-cheap on

I'm so glad to see people actively engaged in the end-of-life journeys of their loved ones. Bless you for sharing this with us


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