|By Канопус Киля (Own work) [Public domain], |
via Wikimedia Commons
I tried to strategically avoid giving her a direct answer, but the patient was incessant. I tried to get her to put into words why she so desperately wanted to know, but she saw right through that. She wanted to know what I believe. She wanted some sort of blessed assurance that death will not be some sort of entrance into an empty void, but rather will transition her into new life with God. As she approached her death she wanted to know that she will see with her eyes Jesus, welcoming her forward. She wanted Jesus and yearned to know that Jesus wants her.
Needless to say, I felt uncomfortable being put on the spot like this, because I’m not always sure what I believe and admitting this to the patient would put me in a place of vulnerability that I did not want to go towards. Yet I felt that in the face of her fearless honesty and questioning that I had to arise to the occasion and speak truthfully. She was looking to me for insight. My words mattered. I had to tell her the truth.
Will I see Jesus when I die? In my heart of hearts, I told her, in the deepest place of my belief, I have faith that the answer is "Yes." I may doubt, and I may question, but I hold as the central conviction of my identity, the crux of my hope, that there is nothing, not even death, which will separate me from the love of God in Jesus Christ for me. Sight perhaps will have a different meaning in the life to come after death, but in the resurrection I do believe that we will be with Jesus and see God face to face. She looked at me with eyes serene, and said, "Ok. Thank you." And I shivered.
I’ve had many conversations concerning eternity with the healthy. But it was only in talking with a woman who stares into the coming abyss that I was able to put into words what I actually believe.