From: Su Min
Subject: facing death
Thursday 21st November 1996
GREETINGSDearly beloved: Six weeks ago (Wed, 9 Oct 1996) I wrote about cousin SS, in his mid thirties, who had just found out he has liver cancer.
TERMINAL CANCERHe has now taken a turn for the worse and has been vomiting blood: massive blood transfusion has been given, and varicose veins within the gullet have been treated by banding to stop the bleeding. He awaits transfer to hospice care.
"I LOVE YOU" I spent a few precious moments with him yesterday afternoon. He is very very exhausted. Tubes and pipes were running in and out of him all over the place. The pumps and the monitors were flashing and beeping. We held hands and he took delight in saying "I love you" to me. He, who is usually very reserved about displays of emotion and affection.
PRAYER ITEMSWe read some psalms, sang some songs, and then took some time to pray. I asked cousin SS what he would like us to pray for, and I share his prayer items with you:
- Feeling that God was calling him home soon, cousin SS asked that God, in His mercy, would let him have just 4 more years. There was so much kingdom work to be done. Cousin SS confessed that he had back-slided badly for 4 years, and asks that he may have 4 years to do the right thing, worshipping God, and spreading the gospel.
- He was burdened with the idea of leaving his aged father uncared for.
- He was burdened with the thought of leaving his two sisters behind.
- Cousin SS recalls how when he very young, his late mother used to tell of a mother hen who loved her chicks so much, that when a barn fire raged, she covered her 10 chicks with her wings. In the morning the farmer found a roasted hen, but the chicks were alive.
Perhaps a fable, a fairy tale. But the point is that this story meant much to cousin SS. It told him of his mother's love for him.
I was able to use this story of his and link it to Psalms_91:4. I pointed out, as a mother hen loves her chicks, so much more does a human parent love his/her children, and so much even more does our heavenly Father love us, his redeemed children.
GOD LOVES USYes, God loves us so much that He redeemed us from eternal death, paying the price with the life of his only son Jesus. By dying on the cross and by raising from the grave, conquering sin and death, Jesus has given us eternal life.
Yes, and as we wobble our way though this mortal life, there are times when we have to traverse the dark valley of the shadow of death.
But even in these times, we are not alone.
The Good Shepherd is ever with us.
He knows pain. He knows fear, He knows death. He has walked that way before.
His rod and staff are there to guide us, to guard us.
and Yea, I will fear no evil,
and when our journey is done, we will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
GOD OUR PROTECTOR
He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High
Shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty
I will say of the Lord "He is my refuge and my fortress:
My God in Him I will trust"
Surely He shall deliver you from the snare of the fowler,
and from the perilous pestilence.
He shall cover you with His feather,
and under His wings you shall take refuge;
His truth shall be your shield and buckler.
WHEN FACING DEATH
I write this not primarily to solicit prayers for cousin SS.
But I have been with a man who stares death in the face.
How do you comfort a person who is terminally ill?
It takes an emotional toll on the care giver.
We are forced to face our own mortality.
Cousin SS has a glimmer of hope. He prays for a miracle. God does answer prayers. Cancer patients do get healed, dead do arise from the grave. But these miracles are few and far between. If all true believers receive total cure of all their ills we would all be living for thousands and thousands of years on earth.. when would we get to heaven? (This does not stop us for praying for healing though.)
God's plan is to call us all home, some sooner, some later, but sooner or later life on this earth will end:
What do I say to cousin SS? I ask him what he would like us to pray for. His prayer request is expressed as above. I pray for him, item by item.
I add that the Good Shepherd will be with us every step of the way.
I asked cousin SS to lay his burdens at the feet of Jesus.
Come to me all ye who are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
The burden of so much kingdom work to be done.
The burden of caring for his father.
The burden of caring for his two sisters.
Surrender the burdens to Jesus.
A burden shared with a friend is a burden halved.
A burden surrendered to Jesus is a burden taken away.
Cousin SS is calm.
He has the conviction that he will go to rest in eternal peace, safe in the arms of Jesus.
He takes the effort now to say "I love you" to people who are significant to him.
He regrets his lost years in the wilderness.
He wants to focus on worshipping God.
Cousin SS is willing to accept the will of God to be called home if that is the will of God.
I believe that there is much we can learn from cousin SS.
grace love and peace
For any comments or enquiries please write to Dr. Lim Su Min
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