August 24, 2020

Struggling to Die

Written by Boyd Bailey

Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – August 24, 2020

Some time later the woman’s son became sick. He grew worse and worse, and finally he died. I Kings 17:17

What do we do when someone we love struggles to die? We know their time on earth is short, but in the parenthesis between life and death, sorrow can be overwhelming. Where there is deep love there is deep sorrow. What do we do when medical professionals exhaust their treatments and say, “We have done all we can do, now we can only trust in a higher power.” Those who love Jesus know it’s the Lord who holds life and death in His hand. As my mother-in-law lay days away from graduating to heaven, the hospital chaplain asked me about her spiritual condition. “She loves Jesus”, I joyfully shared. Celebrating in my heart, “She loves Jesus twice as much as me and the chaplain’s love for Jesus combined!” But I still struggled, watching her struggle to die.

Elijah, the famous Old Testament prophet, loved well a widow and her sick son. Childhood disease seems so unfair, even cruel, yet this man of God provided hope and physical provision as the young man’s health gradually deteriorated. The mom’s faith in God was severely tested as each day she watched her precious boy waste away. The outer shell of life tarnished more and more while the inner soul glistened more and more in the light of the Lord’s love. The mom must have prayed, “Dear merciful God, take my son or heal him, so he doesn’t have to suffer.” He finally died, but hope was very much alive. God, through the prophet, breathed life into the son. 

About that time Hezekiah became deathly ill. He prayed to the Lord, who healed him and gave him a miraculous sign” (2 Chronicles 32:24).

The Lord may heal you or your loved one on earth or in heaven, but in the in between time you can trust His love and mercy to sustain you through your suffering. The tears you weep express your overwhelming love for the one whose memories are what make life worth living. Your first date. Your first dance. Your first fight. Your first time of many times to forgive. A kiss. A laugh. All make you cry in celebration of her life. The struggle to let go is hard, so stay focused on Jesus.

Maybe your child is terminal, but you don’t know the time—maybe months, maybe years. Make the most of the time you have, and avoid obsessing in fear about what the future might hold. Be grateful to God to hold him one more day before the day he goes away. Invite the community of Christ followers in for prayer, comfort and support. The body of Christ is the living expression of the Lord’s love and compassion. You do not struggle by yourself—you are loved and not alone. Death will come, grief will grip your heart, but the God of all comfort will comfort and heal you. 

“May God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ give you grace and peace. All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is our merciful Father and the source of all comfort” (2 Corinthians 1:2-3).


Heavenly Father, I lean into your love and comfort in my inexpressible pain. In Jesus’ name, Amen.


Who needs me to sit with them in love and comfort them in their grief?

Related Reading

Psalm 41:3; Matthew 4:24, 8:14; Luke 10:9; James 5:15

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The body of Christ is the living expression of the Lord’s love and compassion. You do not struggle by yourself—you are loved and not alone. #wisdomhunters #struggle #truth #Jesus

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