The End

Bill Abbate

The topic of this article is of supreme importance. No, it is not fun to talk about, but it is necessary nonetheless. How can anyone live their best life if they never think about that final day?

Read on to learn more about this crucial subject.

The inevitable

Have you ever considered when your final day will come? Is the thought far from your mind, or is it close at hand? While worrying too much about that day would not be healthy, we should at least give it some thought. Otherwise, how can we plan to live the best possible life until that time?

One thing is for sure — everyone dies sooner or later, regardless of age. I have been to too many funerals for young people. Two were infants, and several were only in their 20s. I have also attended many funerals for older folks.

As scripture says, “tomorrow is promised to no one.” That final day can come at any age at any time.

For you, how often does the thought of dying come to mind? Not often, I hope, but also not too rarely. If you are young, you may wonder, “why would I think about that?” Maybe because people of all ages die?

Part of the problem with thinking about that final day is it is final. Who wants to think such unpleasant thoughts?

Are you prepared to die? Most of us are not. An important part of dealing with death is to have a will. Did you know 60% of people in the USA do not have a will? That number is much higher for the younger generations, with 78% of millennials lacking a will. Why should they worry when they are so young? Again, because tomorrow is promised to no one. Not even the young.

At the other end of aging, you experience more and more deaths until you are at an advanced age, at which time most of your contemporaries will have passed.

Let’s look at a different way to view death — a view that comes from two personal experiences and how I understand death as a Christian. A little background to start.

The widowmakers

A few years ago, I survived four consecutive widowmaker heart attacks in a few hours. I was unconscious for nearly two weeks. My wife had no idea if I had experienced brain damage during that time. She knew I would be okay when I was finally able to give a thumbs-up sign while lying there with IVs, hoses, tubes, and wires everywhere.

Spending 40 days in cardiac intensive care and 15 days in pulmonary intensive care was difficult.

I started in rehab shortly before being released from pulmonary intensive care. Losing 50 pounds, most of it muscle mass, I could not stand without a walker. Even then, I could barely stand for a few minutes.

Before the event, I was a health nut for years, participating in many marathons and sprint triathlons. I had just returned from a quick 12-mile bike ride on that dreadful day.

Barely surviving the heart attacks and almost dying from ARDS (acute respiratory distress syndrome) before being discharged from the hospital, more difficult news came. The doctor said I could suddenly drop dead at any moment from SCD (sudden cardiac death)!

For a few months after I arrived home, I had to wear something called a life vest (a wearable defibrillator) because of the possibility of SCD. It was not fun to live with the thought my heart could stop any moment, and I could suddenly die.

My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. Psalm 73:26 NIV

I am blessed to have survived such an ordeal. The doctors and nurses who cared for me those weeks in intensive care called me their “miracle patient.” It truly was a miracle I survived and have now recovered.

Jesus replied, “What is impossible with man is possible with God.” Luke 18:27 NIV

So many people around the world were praying for me. I am thankful for each one of them. I have no doubt God answered their prayers and saved me, restoring my health.

Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. Matthew 7:7 ESV

I must confess, although I am a Christian, death was a frightening thought. This was especially true in the months following the heart attacks.

Since then, I have come more fully to terms with the fact that I will one day die.

Death at a young age

The heart event was not my first close-up experience with death. Charlotte, my wife of 32 years, died at age 51 from cancer. This was a trying time. Her original diagnosis gave her 3 to 5 years. Unfortunately, the cancer was extremely aggressive, and she died within six months.

The LORD cares deeply when his loved ones die. Psalm 116:15 NLT

It devastated me so much that I closed my business and moved to another state. Two years passed before I was even able to think about another relationship. Around this time, God put Jane in my life. Like my first wife, Jane is a wonderful Christian woman. I have been very, very blessed.

He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. — Psalm 147:3 NIV

Overcoming the fear

Yes, there is hope after the death of a loved one. There is also hope after a near-death experience. There is no doubt in my mind God exists and His Word is true. Rather than shaking my faith, these events strengthened it. Do I still fear death? Yes, however, it is now more the fear of leaving my wife and family behind. I do not question what awaits me once I die.

He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away. Revelation 21:4 ESV

I find two things that have helped me quieten the fear of death as I age. They are facing the inevitable and believing in God’s Word — Jesus Christ.

Face the Inevitable

Come to grips with the fact that you will one day die. It helps that I finally understand my time on earth in this current form is limited.

Only God knows how much time we have remaining on this earth. Regardless of how long we live, whether one day or a hundred years, It will go by quickly. Compared to eternity, it truly is little more than a wisp of vapor!

Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away. James 4:14 NASB

When you can face the inevitability of death, the fear subsides. Having hope and realizing where you will be when that last day finally comes brings great comfort.

For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. Philippians 1:21 NIV

Believe in God’s Word — Jesus Christ

There is no greater comfort when facing death than to believe in God and His Word. God’s Word came to the earth and died for us on the cross. His Word is Jesus Christ.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. John 1:1 NIV

Our hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness. Turn away from this world and turn toward Him.

For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 6:23 NIV

Believe in Jesus Christ and accept the eternal life only He can give to those that believe.

But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God. John 1:12–13 ESV

My prayer is that you know Him in your heart. If you do not, pray the following and accept him now.

If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved. Romans 10:9–10 NIV

The greatest decision you can make to strengthen your faith and hope is to join other believers in a local congregation. Find a church, attend it, and watch what God does in your life!

Final thoughts

Isn’t it wonderful to have hope beyond this life? Hope will sustain us until we pass from this life into eternity. Imagine the wonder and splendor to come! While this physical body and mind limit our ability to understand it, one day soon, each of us will experience it.

However, as it is written: “What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no human mind has conceived” the things God has prepared for those who love him. 1 Corinthians 2:9 NIV

There you have it, two things you can do to overcome the fear of death. I leave you with a final scripture to ponder:

You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you. Isaiah 26:3 ESV

I pray you will put your faith in Christ and find the hope only He can give. May we one day see each other in heaven!

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Semi-Retired-Leadership/Executive Coach -Personal & Career Growth Expert -Editor and Leadership Writer at Illumination -Author

Richmond, VA

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