Easter is just twelve days away and though we usually are busy decorating our homes with Easter eggs and baskets along with family plans, the top priority is to remember what Easter really is: the time of the year when we celebrate that Jesus conquered death. What a miracle! We no longer have to fear the end of our life because now we have the hope of eternal life with God.
Retired hospice nurse Trudy Harris has witnessed the passing of hundreds of people from this life to the next. She shared the lessons learned from the bedside in her book Glimpses of Heaven and More Glimpses of Heaven.
Just as night follows day, death comes to everyone. For those of us who trust Christ for salvation, dying is merely a transition, as if moving from one room to another, into the rest and loving care of our Lord. And Jesus is able to give this to us because of His death and resurrection.
But how do people act before they die? Here are some comments Trudy Harris gave in an interview with In Touch Magazine:
Dying people never wish they had worked longer or harder.
Dying patients always wish they had forgiven earlier and been more compassionate in their lives.
There was great freedom revealed from those who gave forgiveness and understanding to others.
Those who were the most peaceful as they were dying had practiced the law of love rather than the letter of the law.
Many times you may walk away from the bedside of a dying person, having learned how to love better.
Live every day as if it is your last, and one day…you will be right.
One important aspect that Trudy mentioned is that those dying patients who walk with and talk to Jesus as a friend and Savior every day have a much easier time of seeing what He is showing us. That kind of relationship makes it easier to find the comfort He wants us to have every day – for ourselves and those around us.
So we need to remember to read the Bible, pray and commune with God daily. We need to learn what Jesus says about eternity and all that He has planned for us:
“Do not be afraid; I am with you always, even to the end of time.” (Matt. 28:20)
“Let not your heart be troubled. You are trusting God, now trust in me. There are many homes up there where my Father lives, and I am going to prepare them for your coming. When everything is ready, then I will come and get you, so that you can always be with me where I am. If this weren’t so, I would tell you plainly.” (John 14: 1-4 TLB)
Those who work as a hospice nurse would say that you could become a nurse and not be a believer but that you could not stay a hospice nurse and not be a believer. As Trudy continued, “Everything I saw, heard, and learned at the bedside increased my faith tremendously. I understood the merciful heart of Jesus better than I had ever known it before. I saw the extent to which He would go to save each and every soul He had created, and how He didn’t want to lose even one.
“I saw the way He enable people, at the very door of death, to turn and recognize His face for the first time in their lives. I came to understand that we have no knowledge at all about how dearly He loves us and how much He wants us to be with Him in heaven for all eternity.
“Every patient in my care grew my faith in one way or another, no matter what his or her faith life had been previously.”
We live in a world that oftentimes does not allow ourselves to experience and accept all the ways God shows Himself to us every day. Many miracles are occurring and we just don’t see them: we are sick but then, suddenly, we are healthy again; a doctor will see a tumor but when they prepare for surgery, the tumor is gone!
We should take care of our health but we should also understand that God has the ultimate say.
As with a dying patient, they will see and hear things that we think are because of the medications, dehydration, or the illness itself. But slowly, Trudy came to realize that seeing angels, hearing beautiful music, experiencing the presence of loved ones who had died years before were all very, very real.
To conclude, I pray that this Easter season you will have a special intimacy with the Lord and understand that this life on earth is temporal and very short. God is preparing us for our eternity with Him. And it would not have happened if He had not conquered death! Next week, we will see what happened to the disciples after Jesus was killed.