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28 June 2020 (Pastoral Page) WISDOM IN LIVING FROM THE DYING

By Elder Ong Hian Sun

This current pandemic reminds us of our vulnerability and mortality. It causes us to re-examine and re-evaluate our identity, purpose and values we believe in and hold dearly in our lives. Have you ever wondered what last words you might wish to leave behind with your friends and loved ones before you pass on?

I had personal encounters with two very dear individuals of whom I had the opportunity to hear their dying declarations. Their last words have left a lasting impression and a constant reminder on how I should live the remaining days of my life.

My first encounter was with our late brother and former Elder Soh Eng Hwa. After his long battle with cancer and during his last days while he was still lucid, he assured those of us who visited him with these words: “I am a child of God.” We knew then that our dear brother Eng Hwa had finally reached the stage where he realised God's grace was sufficient for him and the knowledge of being a precious child of God was enough to carry him through the pain and suffering he had to go through before meeting his Heavenly Father.

My identity does not depend on what I do but on whose I am. Knowing that I am a child of God has often brought me great solace, comfort and joy. Our Heavenly Father knows us from birth. Throughout our lives, He will always be with us to carry, sustain and rescue us in the most trying and difficult circumstances (Isaiah 46:4).

My second encounter was with my late father. He was hospitalised after a nasty fall at home and his health condition deteriorated very rapidly. In his last days, he finally accepted the Lord Jesus Christ as his personal Lord and Saviour. On the evening before he passed on the next morning, I was alone with him at the hospital bed. I heard him muttered to himself in Hokkien: “I love my parents, my siblings; I love my wife, my children and grand-children.”

I was amazed at hearing the words of love by my taciturn dad who hardly expressed his emotions let alone words of love to us. At the point of his death, he remembered even his loved ones who passed on long before him and those whom he would be leaving behind. When I heard him utter those words of love for his parents, siblings, wife and children at his dying moments, I did not try to wake or interrupt him. Thinking back now, I wished I would have told him there and then, "Dad, I hear you and I want you to know I love you too."

Knowing that I will never forget my loved ones even at the final moments of my life, reinforces in me the desire to spend my remaining days on this earth to live a life of love and to make time to spend with my loved ones. At a person's last days, he will not be recounting the illustrious achievements he had in life but rather the precious moments he had with his loved ones.

At the end of your life when you look back on your journey, what you will treasure most in your memory will be about your relationship with the God who loves you as His child and your relationships with all the people you have loved in your life. God is love, so take heed to live a life of love - loving God and others and living a life for God and others (1 John 4:7-8).

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