I Could Not Help Him Die

My brother’s birth was a most wonderful event in my life.  Being much older, I had the fun and fulfillment of sharing in Paul’s life events, learning to walk, going to school, homework helps, football cheers, wedding happiness and most joyful – the arrival of his precious children.

Even greater than all that was mentoring Paul into a living and saving faith through Jesus Christ our Savior.

When cancer struck him I was shaken but soon found that it deepened our fellowship with each other and importantly, with the Lord.  Daily phone counsel and prayer built us in faith and courage; although out of state, my frequent visits were precious.   I witnessed God’s work in Paul’s heart and faith and was certain of God’s call upon his life, positive that the Lord would heal.   When four year old Ella scampered by me one day, turned and surprisingly said, “Jesus is going to heal my dad!”  my heart was gripped…no way would God disappoint and dash her precious faith!

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A year later they would be fatherless

Within three years, Paul was hospitalized.  One day, shaking their heads, doctors called the family together, “there’s nothing more we can do…” My heart immediately erupted, ‘of course there’s nothing you can do, now God will show you what He can do!’ 

With courage and strength,  Paul knew he was dying, something I could not see nor receive.  I refused.  After so gladly sharing in all his life experiences, I dropped the ball at this crucial juncture of life and faith…I could not help him die

During his last night, I stood vigil by Paul’s side, praying through the night.  Even when he died the next day I reached out my hand to him, my heart cried, “now, even now Lord I believe You can raise him up!”

In the months that followed, the Lord brought healing into my anger and crisis of faith.  While I deeply regret not counseling Paul into eternity, in subsequent years God led me to help others, several parolees, who were suffering and dying.

This post has swirled in my heart for a while, perhaps the corona crisis stirred it up more.  However, I am convinced that our high call as Christ’s Body, especially toward our brethren, not only lies in mentoring each other as we walk with the Lord but mentoring each other as we die in the Lord.

In Charles Spurgeon’s Sermons on the Last Days, he preaches on Biblical truths regarding Christ’s return.  However, in the sermon, ‘A Last Lookout’ Spurgeon speaks of our own ‘end’, with a focus on the faith of apostles Paul and Peter…

“He (Paul) does not even say, ‘The hour of my death is at hand,’ but he adopts a beautiful expression, “the time of my departure” – words which are used sometimes to signify the departure of a vessel from the port; the pulling up of the anchor so that it looses its moorings when about to put out to sea…”

“Beloved believer in Christ Jesus…To die is to depart out of this world unto the Father.  What say you about your departure?”

The time of our departure, though unknown to us, is fixed by God, unalterably fixed; so rightly, wisely, lovingly settled, and prepared for, that no chance or haphazard can break the spell of destiny.”  (italics his)

“If you take counsel with death, your flesh will find no comfort; but if you trust in God, your faith will cease to parley with these feverish anxieties, and your spirit will enjoy a sweet calm…To live in constant communion with God is a sure relief from all these bitter frettings”

“There is a time to depart; and God’s time to call me is my time to go.”

May the Lord walk us through this life as His light for the truth, refreshing and encouraging those He appoints along the way.  May the reality of our eternal life in God’s Kingdom overshadow everything in this temporal world and become a living truth to share with others, to help them live and help them depart.

23 thoughts on “I Could Not Help Him Die

  1. My heart trembled as I read through the paragraphs.

    I feel for the children. I hope their father’s death doesn’t alter their faith in God.

    I’m sorry about your loss. God is your comforter.

    Amen to your prayer, Ma’am.

    • Thank you Faith, I truly appreciate your kind words. I share my faith with Ella all the time and believe she’ll trust in the Lord again.
      Stay well sister.

      • You’re welcome, Ma’am.

        So glad you read my letters to Ella.

        I should write another soon.

        By the way, I’ll be launching my podcast soon.

        I’ll be safe in Christ.

      • Oh Faith, I do like your blog and posts but “I share my faith with Ella” just meant I tell my niece Ella about the Christian faith. She’s too young to read your posts, maybe someday though!
        Thanks again, best wishes on your podcast!

  2. Lisa Beth thank you for putting your heart ‘out there’ to write such a beautiful, honest and moving post. It’s so very applicable in these days. May the Lord take those words you’ve written and use them to touch fearful hearts and minds of people everywhere in these uncertain times, and may He continue His gentle healing of your own grief, until you see your brother again. Jill 💕

  3. Thank you for your sharing with us about your brother Lisa Beth. I pray the Lord use your post to minister to many. And yes, you will see your brother again. One of the last things I told my Mom who knew the Lord was “we’ll see each other again”. The truth of Scripture comforts us in times like these. Blessings…

  4. I’m so sorry for your heart-wrenching loss, Lisa Beth. May God give daily strength and peace not only to you, but to your brothers’ family. Thank you for being so honest. Love and blessings to you!

  5. I’m so sorry for your loss, Lisa. So sad. I stared at the picture, they look so happy. My heart breaks for Paul’s children. Your niece is beautiful. I hope your mom and dad get to see the kids often. Thank you for sharing this deeply personal post.

    • Thank you Bill for all your kind words. Actually, my parents live about a mile away from Ella and Paulie, always been so involved with their lives. My wonderful sister & brother in law live in the same town…I’m the only outsider 🙁. Somehow it gave me an undeserved rockstar status, “Aunty Lisa’s coming!!” “I want to sit next to Aunty Lisa!!”
      Well, I must trust the Lord and press on, His plan is not always understandable but it’s perfect. Thanks again dear brother.

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