Monday, November 19, 2012


My husband and I have two parents with terminal illnesses right now. One is still feeling pretty good, although routines are being changed due to changes in health. Another is in hospice care at this time. The end is nearer than we'd like for both. Like all children, we would like to keep our parents here on earth for all of our lives!

We are considering what life will be like without these loved ones. It's a hard thing to think about, talk about, and plan for. The hardest for me is discussing it with my almost 6-year-old. She's already asked me what would happen if Dad or Mom would die. Beloved grandmas and grandpas who die will only bring that fear to loom larger.

I find myself returning, while pondering these terminal illnesses, to the thought that we are all terminal. None of us is going to escape this life without dying (unless Jesus returns during our lifetime). We do not know how or when we will die, but we will die. A scary thought for most.

From where do we gain comfort? If all of our loved ones (and we, ourselves) are terminal, from where does our security come? How can I reassure a 6-year-old when there is no promise that I will accompany her to high school graduation?

I find my answer in the first question of the New City Catechism (and several others). It says, "What is our only hope in life and death? That we are not our own but belong, body and soul, both in life and death, to God and to our Savior Jesus Christ." The scriptural basis for this answer is Romans 14:7-8. 

And so I reassure our little one by reminding her of how God cared for her before Mom and Dad did. And of the promise of God that he will care for her always. In every circumstance. Forever.  And that God promises the same thing for sick Grandmas and Grandpas. And for those of us left behind in grief.

If I promise to be her security myself, what happens when I die? I can promise her that I will take care of her every day of my life, and that her daddy will take care of her every day of his life. I can remind her that she has a multitude of loving relatives who would step up to care for her. But her eternal security is found in God. I want her to know that.

And today, I need a reminder of that for myself, as well. Yes, our parents will die. So will our children's parents. Even our children themselves will die. Isaiah 41:10 holds us up, though: "Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand."

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