Jesus was born into this world with the sole purpose to die. In doing so, He would bring salvation to all those who would accept it. I had never experienced death up close and personal, until my Dad went to be with the Lord, this summer. I have had friends and relatives die in the past, but I never saw and felt death, as I had with my Dad’s death. My Dad was in hospice living with my family as I Homeschooled my three children and cared for my Mom, as well. The impact of the whole experience was so profound and immense, that I feel it should be shared.
As the days drew closer, my Dad would tell me that He was ready for death. I didn’t know exactly how to feel about it all and yet, I knew that I would one day have to face it, too. Jesus announced His death, days before to His disciples and they too, didn’t know how to process what He was telling them. In death, (if someone is blessed to have a death bed), this is the beginning of how the end unfolds. In the ministry of Jesus, He announced His death to His disciples and others, to prepare their hearts and perhaps their minds and soul, too. Some people react like Peter. They are in denial and not ready for God’s will or timing and make it known.
Others are more like Mary and are fully accepting of God’s will. They chose to serve, worship and believe in everything God will be doing, in the process. Mary, mentioned in Matthew 26:6-13. In this scripture, this woman mentioned, anointed Jesus for burial. She was silent and simply kept it between herself and Jesus. We also see how some of Jesus’ disciples failed to see her servitude towards Jesus and showed their indifference towards her. This woman, is a great example of how she was focusing on the spiritual side of things, whereas the disciples were more focused towards the physical. Jesus defended her and even rebuked the disciples for their behavior. This is something that I experienced and am sure is true of most people, when faced by an imminent death.
I learned by watching my Dad die slowly that the body goes through a disconnect. The body will slowly become more disconnected from the physical, as death gets closer and begins to prepare itself for the spiritual side of things. My Dad began disconnecting physically with his appetite. My Dad always had a strong appetite and desire for food. As death approached, he ate less and lost interest in the foods that he once loved so much. Jesus too, began disconnecting, while He was on the cross. He was barely able to utter the words to John that He would not be able to tend to His earthly Mother and handed John that First Born privilege over. John understood and scripture tells us that from that day forward, he cared for Mary, as if she were his own Mother (John 19:25-27).
Watching Jesus die on the cross, must have left such an incredible impact for those who loved Him. Whether it was a positive or negative one, it left its mark. When I watched my Dad die, I was not sure that he was actually at the end. Like the women at the cross, I found myself in disbelief that my Dad was no longer present. His body was, but his soul had gone. It was only a shell that was left behind. I’ll never forget what I felt, as I checked my Dad’s pulse. It was a strong surge of (almost waves of energy fluctuating through his arms). Then, his heart stopped and he breathed his last breath. My Dad’s death was beautiful because God’s presence was absolutely there, just like it was when Jesus died. John and the women who were present, were no doubt in shock, but what had just taken place was just the beginning.
After Jesus was placed in the tomb, there was a gathering of the disciples. They no doubt argued about what had just happened and feared for their lives. Later, when Jesus had resurrected, Mary had come to tell them that she had encountered the risen Lord. There was doubt, disbelief, and fear present. There is a period of time that is dedicated to “processing” a death. After my Dad died, I could see that process in many’s faces. I too, was going though my own, taking it all in and overwhelmed by the aftermath. Then it struck me, God was in it. I know all people usually claim that God is present in a person’s death, by some form or another, but for the Christian, God is absolutely present. Just as God was in absolute control of the death of Jesus, there was a plan. It was a beautiful plan that played out, exactly as God had expected.
God’s perfect plan
When my Dad died, I stopped to note the time because there was not a Hospice Nurse present and I wanted to give them a time, in case they needed it for the death certificate. My Dad died at 7:07 p.m. He also died on the 27th of June. This is when it really struck me…God was trying to speak to me! The number 27 has followed my Husband and I since we met, so we decided to marry on the 27th. It has been a strange phenomenon, but we just see it throughout our lives and in the tiniest details! It had been 7 years to the day, that we had moved into our house and had my Parents move in with us. My Dad died on the anniversary of 7 years to the day. I had also helped my Mom to arrange everything and we had been given the plot number 7 for his grave.
We had family that had flown out to see my Dad before he passed, but arrived too late. Their plane was leaving on Saturday, but our church could only arrange a funeral in two weeks. They didn’t want to miss my Dad’s funeral, so I sought out a different funeral home. The Director scoffed when I asked if she could have a funeral in 3 days time. She told us that it would be highly unlikely that she could get my Dad embalmed, have an opening for the chapel, get on the same page with the cemetery and also have the reception area available. She told me that she would humor me and check (as she rolled her eyes), but that it would more than likely be 7-10 days time.
God is in the details
When she returned, she was in shock and said, “God must be on your side because everything has worked out as you want. I can have your Dad’s funeral take place in exactly 3 days from today!” God is in the details! If you know God, you know the significance of the number seven. It is the number of completion and it was absolutely God placing his finger print, onto the entirety of my Dad’s death! It was beautiful. God was absolutely in the details when Jesus was crucified too. His plan for the redemption of mankind had been planned before the world began. Every detail was laid out and carried out by Jesus, Himself.
To recap, my Dad died on the seventh hour and at the seventh minute. He died on the seventh year anniversary to the day that we had moved in. My Dad was buried in grave number seven on the first day of the seventh month (July). If you have ever doubted God’s presence in your circumstances, perhaps in the darkest of places, let me be the first to tell you that He is absolutely in the darkest of times. He is right there with you and knows exactly what you are going through. Our God is an amazing God! So, never doubt Him. I know it’s hard when you’re in deep waters. It’s hard when you’re in the darkness and have difficulty finding the light in that darkness, but He’s there. “And lo, I am with you always even unto the end of the world” Matthew 28:20. So fear not.