February 25, 2016

Christmas Eve Day—through the years this day has brought several life-altering events to our family. December 24, 2015, brought one more event—my father-in-law was placed into hospice care. My father-in-law has struggled with various health issues, but none as frustrating as congestive heart failure, which, at this writing, is slowly, yet steadily, stripping the life and energy right out of his frail body.

My husband, Doug, and I have had numerous conversations on the difference between loved ones being ripped away, unexpectedly, out of our life, like both of my parents had been, or for them to be taken slowly, as is now the case with my father-in-law.

For those of us left to mourn a sudden loss, there is the shock of the unexpected and regretful thoughts of: “I didn’t get to …” or “I wish I would have …” or “If only I had ….”

Although these thoughts can come in either situation, during these last days with my father-in-law, many words have been expressed within my husband’s family. Words of love and encouragement, words of apology and forgiveness, words to begin the mending of strained and estranged relationships, and most importantly, words of affirmation of faith.

My father-in-law, like many saints alongside and before him, is familiar with the words of Isaiah, “But now thus says the Lord, he who created you … ‘Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine’” (43:1) and “Behold, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands” (49:16a). And Jesus’ words in John 10:28, “I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand.”

When the God of the universe, who created and redeemed us, calls us by name, claiming us as His very own and assuring us that nothing can snatch us from His hand, where we are engraved, could there be any more loving and comforting words when we are living life even in the midst of death?

God desires all of His Created • RedeemedCalled people to know and have a relationship with Him—and so does Lutherans For Life. Lutherans For Life firmly believes in the importance of speaking the truth about life and applying the message of the Gospel to the life issues at all stages of life—including the end of life. Our goal is making Jesus known as the Son of God and Savior of all who can help and make a real difference in people’s lives.

Even though there is suffering involved in the dying process, there are countless blessings that come from it. My husband was blessed to hear his dad say, “I just want to go to Jesus.” For a believer in Jesus Christ, there could be no sweeter words to hear. Because God knows my father-in-law’s name, he and our family can rest assured where he will spend eternity: surely, in the arms of Jesus. 

God Knew Your Name
Before the light of day shined on your little face 
God knew your name.
When no one else could see how precious you would be, 
God knew your name.
And He held you so close in His loving hand
And He wanted all to see, that
Before the light of day shined on your little face,
God knew your name.

As you gracefully grew old you know you had been told
God knew your name.
And one day when you died and your friends and family cried
God knew your name.
And the angels carried your soul to me 
And I said, “Welcome home!”
You were one of mine, I loved you for all time,
I knew your name.
You were one of mine, I loved you for all time,
I knew your name.

Words and music by Jim Likens © 1997 Jim Likens. Used by permission.

End-of-Life Issues

You can find articles, audio, video, teaching tools, worship resources, and links to LFL resources on end-of-life issues at:


Medical Directive Statements/Durable Power of Attorney for Healthcare
Our friends at Christian Life Resources have developed a Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care – Christian Version document to enable Christians to provide informed, legal, and Christ-centered direction for their medical care in the event they can no longer express their wishes. This is a legal document that allows you to designate a person to serve as your healthcare agent, allows you to make some selections regarding the kind of treatment or care you want provided, and includes a Christian witness to your faith and to the sanctity of human life. Click the link above to find out more.