Saturday, July 21 , 2018, 12:39 am | Overcast 65º

 
 
 
 
Faith

Jim Langley: Dealing with Death and Dying

I had the distinct pleasure of sharing the podium with J. Sidlow Baxter years ago. Baxter is the most godly man I’ve ever had the pleasure to meet. I remember purchasing one of his many books during that CBMC retreat entitled The Other Side of Death published in 1987.

I ended up lending that book to a friend, who returned it to me many years later. That book which was an exhaustive study on “heaven, hell and life beyond death” inspired me to recommit to writing about spiritual matters and life's uncertainty.

Death is inevitable, and dying is simply part of the process. It’s a worthy topic, since we will all experience it one day and a worthy topic for discussion.

As a life and health insurance professional, I have a pretty good grasp of morbidity and mortality tables. In short, it’s quite possible for one of my many clients to have one or more long-term disabling events during their lifetime, but eventually we all must face death.

Over the past 33 years, I’ve handled well over a hundred life insurance claims. During that same period, I’ve handled several dozen disability and long-term care insurance claims. We never know when or how catastrophes will strike, but inevitably they do. Yes, death is certain!

It’s only been a few years since my parents passed into Glory. My Mom preceded my Dad by seven months and I remember how upset Dad was that God took Mom before him. He confided that he married a woman eight years younger so she would be able to take care of him in his later years.

Then again, he never expected to live to see his 100th birthday! During the last few years of his life, Dad could hardly see and hear, but he continued to exercise and remain physically strong, not wanting to let go.

A few months before his 101st birthday he finally started letting go. I remember our conversation on that final three-day trip to Texas, and making one more attempt at sharing the love of Christ with him. After visiting my Mom’s graveside at Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery, my Dad was captive in the 20-minute car ride home. He didn’t want to hear my final plea, but he did listen!

Baxter lived to be 96, and I can still see him walking around Santa Barbara dressed to a T with his plaid jacket, dress shirt and bow tie. He was a true gentleman who loved life and loved God with all his heart, mind and soul.

I look forward to seeing him in Paradise one of these days. I’m sure he and Jesus have had many precious conversations over the years since he entered Heaven. After all, that’s just what he did while here on this earth.

Just as Paul shared in Philippians 1:21-24, “For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. If I am to go on living in this body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know! I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far; but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body.”

Baxter had a wonderful grasp on Reality.

Like Paul, I, too, am looking forward to the day when I’ll meet Jesus face-to-face, yet I love life and the daily encounters my Lord brings across my path. Genetically, I may reach that century mark just like my Dad, which is fine if that’s God’s will. If He takes me before I reach that milestone, that, too, is well with my soul.

And, I do look forward to being reunited with my parents and many others one day in Heaven. Yes, my Dad did make that commitment to Christ just minutes before he died. I thank my cousin, Mark Schraub, for sharing the account with me and being there before Dad’s death to offer him one last opportunity before he took his last breath.

Life is short and we have no way of knowing what lies ahead. You or a loved one may already be dealing with a serious illness, but we don’t have to go through adversity on our own. Certainly, friends and family can relieve some of the stress, but I’ve found the greatest strength comes from a personal relationship with Christ.

There’s no time like the present to call upon Him. Let Him help you deal with the inevitable process we must all go through here on earth. Trust Him in your time of need.

Passages to Ponder

» Job 42:1-6

» Luke 23:39-43

» John 14:1-6

» 1 Corinthians 13:9-13

— Jim Langley has been writing for more than 30 years while working as a life and health insurance agent in Santa Barbara. In recent years, his passion has turned to writing about his personal relationship with God, and his goal is to encourage others to draw near to Him as well. As a longtime member of CBMC of Santa Barbara (Christian Business Men’s Connection), he started writing Fourth Quarter Strategies columns in 2014, and he now reaches an international audience through the CBMC International devotional Monday Manna. Click here for previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made through Stripe below, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments and a mailing address for checks.

Thank you for your vital support.

Become a Noozhawk Supporter

First name
Last name
Enter your email
Select your membership level
×

Payment Information

You are purchasing:

Payment Method

Pay by Credit Card:

Mastercard, Visa, American Express, Discover
One click only, please!

Pay with Apple Pay or Google Pay:

Noozhawk partners with Stripe to provide secure invoicing and payments processing.

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click Here to Get Started >

Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.

Daily Noozhawk

Subscribe to Noozhawk's A.M. Report, our free e-Bulletin sent out every day at 4:15 a.m. with Noozhawk's top stories, hand-picked by the editors.

Sign Up Now >

Meet Your Realtor Sponsored by Village Properties

Photo of Gary Welterlen and Carla Reeves
Gary Welterlen and Carla Reeves
"We both love this business. We strive to make life long relationships from each real estate transaction."

Full Profile >