A dear friend of mine was on the doorsteps of death not that long ago. It also happened to be my birthday week. That doesn’t make for a very happy birthday now does it?! No. Sure doesn’t. I felt so relieved when I made it through that long day and she was still breathing.
Death. A horrible word. One that at times has consumed my mind. Will I die while I am driving? Will my husband make it safely home? Will my child suffer a life-threatening injury while playing in the backyard? Will I get shot in a church? Will I get shot while I pump gas? Will I get shot while at the mall? When and how will I die???
These thoughts can be quite debilitating. And yet we all will die. But how? When?
How do we live as we wait to die?
As my friend was walking through the darkest valley that we will all eventually walk through, I turned to Scripture for solace. God is the God of comfort. And I needed comfort bad. My heart felt like it was being ripped out of me. I randomly opened my Bible aiming for Psalms. I slightly missed and ended up in Ecclesiastes 3. The very first verse I saw read, “A time to give birth and a time to die.” What?! That did not at all feel comforting. I looked at the preceding verse to get a little more context.
“There is an appointed time for everything. And there is a time for every event under heaven—A time to give birth and a time to die.”
I tried to comprehend where any possible comfort could be in these verses. I wanted promises of God’s power. His ability to heal. His care for my friend. But, these verses? There is no healing mentioned. There is no care promised. It was such a clinical verse.
And then I started to see the key word of comfort.
“An appointed time…”
Appointments. Scheduled. Planned. Purposeful. Appointments aren’t random. They are incredibly organized by a detailed person at a business who cares about making everything go smoothly and just right.
My friend had an appointment with death. I didn’t yet know when that appointment would be. On my birthday? The next week? In two years? In twenty years? I didn’t personally know the appointment time, but I started realizing that her meeting with death would be based on an appointed time. And that started to bring comfort.
My friend dying would not be a random, purposeless event. It would take place at the exact moment that God had planned for it to take place from the beginning of time. And, that did bring comfort. The thought of her dying was still incredibly painful, but I found much comfort in knowing that it was an appointment and not random.
I’m so thankful to be able to tell you that though my friend could have almost reached out and touched death the one night of my birthday week (and thought she was), God chose to bring her from the brink of death and restore a good measure of health.
And, I am thankful that the truth that we all have an appointment with death was underscored for me that week. We all know that we will die. But, do we all understand that our meeting with death is an appointment?
With tragic stories like school shootings, church shootings, car accidents, and the like, it can feel like death is very random. But God assures us that no death is ever random. Each death is an appointment. Mine. My husband’s. My child’s. My friend’s. Yours.
This post might not at first feel comforting and encouraging. And the truth of death being an appointment doesn’t remove the sting of death or the grief we experience or the necessity to pray for healing. But I hope upon reflecting for a time, you too will find a measure of comfort knowing in this seemingly chaotic, random world of evil that death is not at all random. It’s an appointment scheduled by an all-knowing, all-powerful, loving, good God whom we can truly trust in the darkest of valleys.