We had a thoughtful comment about death from one of our readers after yesterday’s Catch about Enoch, one of the two people we know of who have been ushered into heaven without dying. Our reader made a distinction between death and dying — how when serving in Desert Storm, he had no fear of death though it was all around him, but the thought of dying frightened him. I think he meant the threat of death was not as scary as living with the process of knowing you are going to die soon. I think I know what he means. It made him think longingly about how he’d like to go the way Enoch went — to walk into heaven without dying. Or like he wrote, “What a blessing it would be to suddenly be ‘not.’” Well maybe that’s actually not far from what it could be like.
Our brother Ron Ritchie is experiencing this process of dying under hospice care at home, virtually waiting to die. If he’s frightened, he’s not letting on about it. I think of Corrie ten Boom’s illustration about not receiving faith until you need it (her father never producing the train ticket until they got to the station). I’m sure dying is a little like that. You receive what you need when you need it and no sooner. This is what can make it harder on those friends and loved ones standing around than on the one who is actually dying. They aren’t necessarily receiving the same provision. It can be harder to watch than to go through it.
But still — we’re all human. It’s the ultimate fear of the unknown. It’s got to factor in somewhere. This is just one more reason to take some inspiration from Enoch and learn to walk with God. Now is when you want to make walking with God a habit. You want to get familiar with sharing everything with Him so that when He tells you it’s time, you’ll be ready.
If you have been spending a good deal of your life learning how to walk with God, then when you face death, it might just seem a little like Enoch in that you will just keep on walking right into His presence.