Those facing death can take hope and help in God

Published 9:02 am Saturday, June 23, 2007

In the Bible, we read in Hebrews 9:27, “And inasmuch as it is appointed for men to die once, and after this comes judgment.” (NAS). This verse mentions that we all have an appointment with death.

Today, I want to offer help and hope to those who are facing death and also to those who are caregivers. The most important thing that I can say is today is that when someone is facing death, they are looking for strength, love, hope and someone to be there with them as they live out their final days. I once had a professor who liked to say that those people who are caregivers and volunteers are simply helping to walk their loved ones home.

There is always hope. There are three things I want you to remember:

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1. Always remember there is spontaneous remission. There is a definite possibility that whatever illness they have, it could make a change for the better and go into remission.

2. Always remember that there is a God and He is still in the miracle working business.

3. Always remember that the Lord may return before they go through any more pain and suffering.

There are many people in our community that are walking their final trip home. There are also caregivers devoting all of their time and energy taking care of their loved ones. These people need our help. As volunteers, we can offer that strength, love, and hope. As a volunteer, you may not always know what to do or say. Let me offer a few suggestions when visiting a hospice patient.

1. At times, the greatest wisdom is to say nothing, just be there and let them sense that God is there with you.

2. Take a small Bible with you with Scriptures of comfort underlined and referenced on a page in the back of your Bible.

3. Take a prayer on your lips.

I have found that these three suggestions have helped more than anything else I can do. The mere fact that you are there helps more than anything. The patient knows that you are there not because it’s your job or that you are getting paid to be there, but that you are there because you love and care for them. That knowledge brings them comfort.

In cooperation with Community Hospices of America in Natchez and McComb, our church has a volunteer hospice ministry. Angela Parker is the Volunteer Coordinator for Community Hospices of America. Therese Beach is the coordinator for our church. These two ladies are doing a wonderful job ministering not only to the patients and their caregivers, but also to the entire families. We are looking for additional volunteers to help us with this ministry. We are looking for you.

If you feel that you are able to give just a few moments a week to this wonderful ministry, give one of those ladies a call or contact me at our church and we will be glad to get you started walking a friend or a loved one home A wise man once said, “I will live until I die and when I die, I will live”.

David Tarver is associate pastor of First Assembly of God in Natchez.