I'm always excited about the times I get to go on an extended hunting trip. The expectations are always high and the opportunity to go with a friend makes the miles pass quickly and the laughs come in abundance. I go on a couple of these trips each year. They are usually at a time when the weather can be nasty and cold. Those hunts offer special challenges, and hours in the tree stand make nights in a warm bed even more comfortable. By the last days however, my mind begins drifting toward home. I get tired of fighting the elements, tired of battling my bodies urge to stay in bed, and tired of being away from my family whom I love. I just want to go home. As I reflect on my desire to leave, I am reminded of a lesson I learned earlier in life – one that helped me understand more about death and dying.
Over the years I have stood at the bedside of many of the elderly who were sick and dying. Many of them were battling all sorts of illness or disease. Instead of continuing to fight, their desire was simple. They wanted to go home. Not to the brick and mortar earthly dwelling, but to their heavenly home. As a young man I never understood why anyone would trade life for death. As an older man, now I do. It was not these men and women wished to cease to live, but it was that they wished to live in a better place; one that promised a new body and where most of their loved ones were waiting. It was sort of like my hunting trips. It was not that I did not love to deer hunt, but when it came right down to it, what I really loved more than anything was at home. Not only could I be with the ones I loved, I could do it without facing the battles that I was looking at right now. You may have an elderly loved one who is fighting a battle of sickness. You may think they have lost their desire to live. For a Christian, that is far from the truth. They have not lost their desire to live, only their desire to do it here. Remember that God always heals. Sometimes He does it here and sometimes He does it in Heaven.