When I come to die

Emmagene Alice Powell, November 12, 1921 – May 25, 2018

My mother is safely home.

I returned to her side only three days after leaving it. Although she was already surrounded by loving hearts and hands, it felt like important work that I needed to do. We camped out around her and spent many night hours singing and praying and saying good-bye when it seemed she would not take another breath.

Yet her final breath came mid-morning when we were wearily attempting to move into another day. She slipped away to the smell of coffee and toast and the sound of her daughters quietly chatting.

After weeks of suffering, a quiet exit. But I smile when I think of the glorious entrance on the other side.

Because of God’s grace.

I have witnessed the final breath of my father and my mother and my 26-year-old daughter. I am sobered and changed. My eyes are opened to eternity’s nearness, its reality.

A deathbed humbles us. It crushes any pretense of beauty or self-preservation. It teaches us that we are vulnerable and powerless.

Breath and life, a gift from God.

We all face death someday. We are all terminal. A final breath comes for all of us.

In that moment, it won’t matter what we own or what is in the bank. It won’t matter what we’ve accomplished or where we’ve been. Any beauty will have faded. It won’t  matter how kind we’ve been or what good we’ve done. There is not one thing we can do to ensure our entrance into paradise.

The only thing that will matter?

Our relationship with Jesus.

It’s not enough to know that He is real or that He is good. It is not enough to believe that heaven exists.

We must believe that He alone is the way. That He alone is truth and life. That He died and was buried and rose again. That if we call on Him and confess Him as Lord, He will save us. He will hold us securely forever.

There is a believing faith given to those who call on His name, to those who come. There is an eternal reward and a secure inheritance for those who are born again in Him, to those who become His children.

Faith may seem a foolish notion when we are young and healthy. We may resist its call, forge our self-reliant way. But we are made for eternity, made for God. Our deepest self becomes alive only in Him. Eventually we see overwhelming evidences of our rebellious hearts. Our disillusionment and weariness and fear are whispers of truth if we listen.

In living and in dying, we need a Savior.

On Saturday we buried the lifeless body of my sweet mother. But she was not there. She was already rejoicing with her Savior and all the saints.

When death came, it found her safe in Christ. She fell asleep in Him and awoke to the most glorious sunrise.

She awoke to the most glorious life.

The Spirit and the bride say, “Come.” And let the one who hears say, “Come.” And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who wishes take the water of life without cost.  Revelation 22:17

For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. John 3:16-18