Most of us have heard it said, “When it’s your turn to go, it’s your turn to go” or “When your number comes up, there’s nothing you can do about it” or “We all have an appointed time to go.”
I think there is a lot of truth to these statements because I’ve seen otherwise perfectly healthy people not respond to the best life-saving practices. Health, well-being, and even youth can appear perfectly in tack one moment but the next it’s death from cardiac arrest or a ruptured aneurysm. On the other hand I’ve seen people with the worst of health bounce back from death’s door despite a grave list of morbidities.
Not only do I agree with these statements because of what I’ve seen in the hospital Emergency Department and Intensive Care Units, but because of what the Bible says about this. There are at least three prominent verses in the Scriptures that express that we do have an appointed time to die, and they are…
Hebrews 9:27 which states, “And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment.”
Job 14:5 states, “Seeing his days are determined, the number of his months are with thee, thou hast appointed his bounds that he cannot pass.”
Psalm 31:15 simply says, “My times are in thy hand.”
When you consider these three verses together, it does seem that the underlying principle is that we have an appointed time to die and nothing we do can change that.
This ought to bring about a bit of peace as we cope through the circumstances of a loved ones passing. Knowing that a loved one’s death is their appointed time helps us grieve appropriately and resist second guessing the circumstances with “What if” questions.
Regrets, rethinking, and “What if” questions won’t bring a loved one back, but if nurtured it can lead to unnecessary survivor’s anxiety and unhealthy grief.
A loved one’s appointed time to die, means that God is not unaware of their death and is not haphazardly playing games with people’s lives. We will hurt and grieve a loved one’s passing, but our face to face relationship with them would have ended at that moment regardless of what we wished would have happened.
Here’s an exercise that can help you cope with an unexpected death and perspective of appointed time: In your mind go back to the beginning of the relationship you’ve had with the deceased and ask yourself the following question. If God would have said to you that you can have a relationship with them but only for the certain years of their life, would you still want that?
For example, if your spouse of twenty years dies, and you imagine God asking you, You can have them for only twenty years, do you still want them? The answer is likely going to be “Yes! Of course!” That’s what our appointed time looks like.
I’m not saying that grief is going to be easier by recognizing we all have an appointed time to die, but it does bring perspective to the grieving process.