How I Want To Die

After this many of his disciples turned back and no longer walked with him. [67] So Jesus said to the Twelve, “Do you want to go away as well?”  Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life,  and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God.”  (John 6:66-69)

“I love to hear the Word of God read aloud. One of the most difficult pastoral tasks I’ve ever had came very early in my ministry. I was teaching at a college in Massachusetts, and a man closely connected to the school became sick unto death. I used to go to Massachusetts General Hospital every day and sit by his bed and watch him die a day at a time. Finally we cane down to the last few hours of his life, and there was very little I could do to comfort him other than put some ice on his parched lips, wipe the sweat from his forehead, and read to him from the Word of God. But that is what he most wanted because of the comfort the Scriptures provided. That’s how I want to die — listening to the Word of God, because that Word is life.” – RC Sproul

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Comments

  1. says

    Mark, I've had the privilege of watching my dad die like this in a way, too. When he was "going under" for his brain surgery to remove the tumor, he asked that he be allowed to listen to scripture while he was under anesthesia. His love for God's Word has made such a profound impact on my life. I am a blessed woman to have had that example in my father and I see how that love for God's Word has been imparted to my own life. So grateful for believing parents!

  2. Andrew says

    I had the privilege of reading various Psalms and then Romans 8 (repeatedly) to my mum as she lay dying of multiple cancers a few years ago. I could see relaxation on her face as she heard God's words. Like Briana, I'm blessed to have had the example of the love of the Bible from both my parents. Again, so grateful for believing parents.
    There is no better gift or legacy that we can leave our own children!

  3. says

    When my Dad died of cancer in 1979, Divine Providence (Is there any other kind?) dictated that the only other Christian at my Dad's place of employment "just happened" to be in the hospital room with him and my Mom. As my Dad left this world, my Mom held one of his hands and my Dad's 'brother' held the other and asked God to bless his journey to his new Home. The last words my Dad heard on earth were his brother in the Lord praying for him. The next words he heard were the praises of God's children around the Throne. You have no idea how much peace that gave me in the midst of my grief.

  4. Elaine Eshleman says

    When I did home health nursing, I had many African-American patients and one common tradition in that culture was to leave a Bible opened to a favorite passage. At one visit with an invalid patient, who could not communicate with me, I really believe the Lord led me to ask her, "Would you like me to read this passage to you?" She, of course, could not respond but I read the passage out loud to her. When I finished reading, a stream of tears were running down her cheeks.

    It made such a strong impression on me – what a gift He has given us in His Word.

  5. Rafael Moreno says

    Mark, thank you so very much for posting RC Sproul's experience. What a great thought.

    A few hours before my dear mom, Rafaela Gonzalez passed away in 2010 I read some of her favorite scriptures to her, Psalms 103, 90, and then 91. Even though Mom was very weak from the cancer that was ravaging body I could hear her weak voice quote each of the passages word for word as I was reading them to her. This moment inspired me and gave me the strength to then be able to sing one of her favorite hymns, "It Is Well With My Soul" to her. I had one slight problem, however, I did not know the words to the hymn in Spanish, so I sang them to her in English, and then to my surprise Mom's weak voice was singing the song back to me in Spanish.

    As soon as we finished the song I saw my mom's eyes close and I thought to myself, "She's tired now, I should let her rest," but Mom had one more surprise for me, she started praying. She did not pray about herself, that the Lord would ease her pain and suffering, instead my mother began to pray for others; one name at a time. She prayed for her three sons, my brothers and I, and our wives – that the Lord would bless our marriages and keep us together, that we would be united; and that we would always find strength in Him. She prayed for her grandchildren and great-grandchildren by name, including their husbands and one husband to be. She then prayed for other family members, and even her neighbors. One name after another Mom prayed. She prayed for her spiritual family. She thanked the Lord for His many blessings. She praised Him and worshiped Him in the midst of, and in spite of the pain and suffering that seemed to tear at her insides.

    A few hours after all of this transpired I kissed my mom goodbye, hoping to see her again early the next morning, and as I turned to look at her once again before leaving I beheld her dying. The Lord in His kindness and mercy decided to take her home with Him that evening.

    There is no doubt in my mind that only the Lord could be in control of this situation. The strength that my dear mother was demonstrating from the time she was diagnosed with cancer until the last day of her life did not come from herself, it came from the Lord whom the apostle Paul quoted in 2 Corinthians 12:9 as saying, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my strength is made perfect in weakness."

    As sad as that day was in the end I would not change a thing and I am overwhelmed with gratitude for these last moments with my dear Mom and for her great legacy of faith and strength in the Lord. I too would love to faced death in the same fashion, believing and trusting in the Lord til the very end.

    • Mark Altrogge says

      Wow, Rafael, I have tears in my eyes as I read this. So moving. Thanks so much for sharing this. I hope I can be like your Mom when it's my time to die.

  6. pastormikeevans says

    Mark thank you for this timely post. In less than 4 hours I will giving the eulogy at my mom's funeral. She was 76 years old and has been suffering from Alzeimers disease for 22 years. Yes you heard that correctly. Mom hasn't given any appearance of recognizing me for at least ten years, but the chaplain told me that as late as just six months ago tears came to her eyes as the 23rd psalm was being read to her…and she was mouthing the words to a hymn within this same time frame. I am not certain that she was a Believer. And one vow I made when I became a pastor was to never give someone false assurance. Death seems to make practical universalists out of even conservative evangelical Christians as we seem to promote the idea that heaven comes to all simply because we die. Please pray for me today as I stand before friends and family and carefully give due respect for my mother as well as respect for my convictions.

  7. Alexandra says

    I want to die – I don't want eternal life. I want all the pain and suffering to be over, once and for all. I have no family that cares for me,
    I have no friends, I'm disabled – depression and chronic, relentless back pain. I've become a recluse. I don't even want to watch TV , all I want to do is sleep. I have my plan in place. I'm just waiting til I hear that my son has passed his Bar exam and my sister and her daughter have completed their move. I've taken all kinds of anti-depressants, spent all my money trying to get better. Now I'm broke and can't afford the anti-depressants that didn't work anyway. I just need to get enough sleeping pills to do the job, which shouldn't be to hard to get. . Drive somewhere where I'll be found after I'm dead , but before my body starts to rot and smell too bad. Just knowing the the end is near gives me a little relief.

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