«And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away» (Revelation 21:4).
One of the most difficult moments in a person’s life is the death of a loved one and the imminence of their own death. Many people’s suffering worsens in such situations, while others manage to serenely cope with the pain. What factors can make the difference?
A scientific study conducted by the researcher Eunjeong Ko from San Diego State University in California, USA, explored the factors involved in a «good» or a «bad» death among twenty-two older homeless adults. The participants were asked about different subjects related to physical, emotional, social, and spiritual well-being. The results revealed that among the main factors associated with a good death were (a) dying peacefully (while sleeping); (b) experiencing an example); important spiritual connection (through a personal relationship with God, for example); and (c) making amends with significant others (resolving family conflicts, forgiving friends, etc.).
It is interesting to note that the same elements were considered by a merciful God to help us face death peacefully. As Jesus declared, it is possible to compare death with sleeping (John 11: 10-14). The Holy Scriptures reveal that death is like sleeping where there is no conscience, memory, emotions, or actions. «For the living know that they will die; but the dead know nothing, and they have no more reward, for the memory of them is forgotten. Also their love, their hatred, and their envy have now perished; nevermore will they have a share in anything done under the sun» (Eccles. 9:5,6). «For in death there is no remembrance of You; in the grave who will give You thanks?» (Ps. 6:5). «The dead do not praise the Lord, nor any who go down into silence» (Ps. 115:17). On the other hand, having a personal relationship with God and forgiving his persecutors helped Stephen-one of the first deacons of the Apostolic Age-to peacefully face a violent death (Acts 7:55-59).
Beyond death, the Bible exalts Jesus Christ as the One who was dead, resurrected and has the power to resurrect anyone who believes in Him (John 3: 16; Rom. 14:9; Rev. 1:18). The apostle Paul emphasized that «the dead in Christ will rise first» (1 Thess. 4:16). Finally, the beloved disciple reminds us that on the New Earth, there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying, nor pain. Let us embrace this blessed hope today.