My grandmother’s death was not equal to her life on this earth. Grandma was a sweet little Italian lady who arrived at Ellis Island by boat on December 2, 1912, at the age of 12. She eventually married in America and raised 6 children through the great depression.
Grandma was tiny in stature but considerable in character. She had learned to be entirely satisfied with the simple life; she was passionate about people, not things. She loved with organic sincerity and meekness. As a compassionate woman it was not unusual to see her eyes wet with tears over someone’s family crisis, or the latest news report.
Because grandma was special I expected the moment of her death to be imposing or angelic. It seemed terribly anticlimactic and out of balance for her to simply expire like everyone else. I expected it to be better for her! Since she had lived so remarkably I assumed that her passing would be distinctive. But it was not. There was no symphony playing, and no visible light beams shone from heaven to usher her from this life to the next. The wonderful lady just stopped breathing and was no longer here.
I wrestled with confusion about the experience until God graciously put it in perspective for me. The lack of ceremonial display at her death should not be a reflection of her life in any way. Life is relevant only for as long as we are here, but eternity is forever! The real action, what truly matters at the end of an individual’s life, resides on the other side of death, so of course what we see when the soul leaves earth lacks totality.
Grandma died at age 96 of heart failure; the only time that I ever saw her ill. Several days before her death, grandma had a spiritual visitation. The incident frightened her so much that the hospital staff moved her to another room in an attempt to comfort her. She said that two women entered her room and mocked her. They told her that she would die in the hospital and that she would never see her home again. She said that they ridiculed her repeatedly until the voice of a man from outside her door demanded that they leave. She never saw the man.
I received a call regarding the incident and rushed to the hospital. On the way, I asked God for wisdom so that I would know what to do when I saw her. God was faithful. He conveyed to me that grandma did not have the assurance of salvation, and that her life was literally hanging in the balance between heaven and hell. I was surprised, as I had thought for years that she was a Christian.
When I arrived at the hospital I leaned over grandma’s frail body and asked her if she believed that she would go to heaven when she died. With minimal strength she whispered that she had not been a good enough person. Wow what a statement! All her life, she gave and gave and gave to others; she WAS a good person! But in the hours before death, when she was closest to facing her Maker, she was confronted by her unworthiness. What a beautiful example of why we need a Savior. Even the best among us cannot reach God without accepting the cleansing blood of Jesus Christ.
I said, “Oh grandma, it is not about that; nobody is good enough. Jesus is not looking for your goodness; He is looking for your heart! He will cleanse you from your sin and make you ready for heaven”. I was privileged to share God’s great love and gift of salvation with grandma, and she accepted Jesus as her Savior.
She continued to have visions until her death; however after that day they were encouraging manifestations of beautiful white horses, and friendly faces that brought her comfort. Then, one night her heart stopped beating and she quietly left.
So it is true; grandma’s death was not equal to the way that she lived. However, her time in eternity will far surpass any desires or expectations that I had for her! She lives eternally, in her eternal home, with the eternal God! It doesn’t get better than that!
Psalm 116:15 NIV Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of His saints.
2 Peter 1:11 NLT Then God will give you a grand entrance into the eternal Kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Orig Posted by Donna M Dougherty at 5/10/2009 10:26 PM