Prepare for Departure
This post is the first in a series of excerpts from
"The time for my departure has come."
2 Timothy 4:6
Departure is a gentle way of saying the Apostle Paul knows he’s about to die.
You or a family member may be at the point of “departure.” It's hard to accept this reality. We don’t want to depart from all we know. We fear suffering—our own and that of our loved ones. We don’t want to leave loved ones. We don’t know what’s on “the other side.” We grieve deeply. Our sorrow, fear, and confusion are understandable.
In the midst of his suffering and grief, the Psalmist pleads with the Lord in this prayer of lament.
Be merciful to me, LORD, for
I am in distress;
my eyes grow weak with sorrow,
my soul and body with grief.
My life is consumed by anguish
and my years by groaning;
my strength fails because of my affliction,
and my bones grow weak.
Thankfully, God hears our cries of lament; our passionate expressions of grief, even anger.
The Lord has heard my plea;
the Lord accepts my prayer.
The LORD hears us! And he will answer according to what is best for us, but not always the way we want him to. God is God and we are not.
Mike prayed for relief, but he was dying. He knew it; his family knew it. He was firm in his faith. The family thought he was well prepared for death, but near the time for his departure, he said, “I’m confused.” For the first time, he was face to face with an enormous new reality—his impending death. Uncertainty made him very uncomfortable.
Are you prepared for your departure?
“Departure” is the word Paul chooses—not dissolution, not destruction, not annihilation. Departure suggests leaving one place in order to go to another place, like a ship departing from one port to go to another port. Some have likened the death of a believer to leaving earth’s shore, ideally with supportive family and friends gathered around, and arriving at heaven’s shore to the cheers of the waiting heavenly host.
You or your loved ones might be facing a departure now. Questions abound not only about procedural details, but also what happens to you after you leave earth’s shore. What you have believed all your life might not be clear or comforting. Perhaps you, like most of us, have not thought about the spiritual implications of death for yourself or your family…until now.
Now is the best time to make sense of your condition. You can choose now to learn and believe the hope Scripture teaches.
In the meantime, I'd love to hear from you. You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org .