LISTEN: When Death Arrives, Part 3 (Preparing for the Inevitable with Daniel Whyte III)

This podcast will help you get ready to face the inevitable unpleasant things that will happen in your life — things like trouble, suffering, sickness, and death — the death of people you love and your own death.

Daniel Whyte III
Daniel Whyte III

The Bible says in Ecclesiastes 12:7: “Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it.”

The featured quote for this episode is from Daniel Handler. He said, “It is a curious thing, the death of a loved one. We all know that our time in this world is limited, and that eventually all of us will end up underneath some sheet, never to wake up. And yet it is always a surprise when it happens to someone we know. It is like walking up the stairs to your bedroom in the dark, and thinking there is one more stair than there is. Your foot falls down, through the air, and there is a sickly moment of dark surprise as you try and readjust the way you thought of things.”

Our topic for today is titled “When Death Arrives (Part 3)” from the book, “The Art of Dying: Living Fully into the Life to Come” by Rob Moll.

I began writing this book at a time when end-of-life ethics was being hotly debated in the press. Not long before, the doctors for Terri Schiavo, a woman who had been in a persistent vegetative state for roughly fifteen years, had been ordered by a judge to remove a feeding tube and other medical treatment that had been keeping her alive. Her husband and her family had spent years in court trying to gain, or to prevent, such a decision from a judge. Congress became involved and tried to intervene.

While the legal process and the decision reached caused great commotion among the Christian community, as well as the rest of the country, I found few satisfactory answers to the dilemma. While most pastors, theologians and ethicists agreed that it was permissible to withdraw medical treatment, Schiavo’s dilemma was more difficult. She only needed food, water and minimal care. Yet her food and water, delivered through a feeding tube, required medical professionals to perform the delicate maneuver to insert the tube. The contents of her food were scientifically and medically determined. She wasn’t simply fed pureed pork chops. Even if Schiavo was so ill that removing a feeding tube was ethically defensible, Christians were rightly furious that anyone would be left alone, without care and human comfort, to die. Yet in my own conversations with doctors, theologians and church leaders, they suggested privately that they would never want to be kept alive artificially (even with just food and water) for fifteen years.

I was unsatisfied with Christian responses that either required the prolonging of life—no matter the physical, mental, relational or financial suffering involved—or that pinpointed what treatments might be appropriate under what circumstances. Instead, I wanted to find a Christian response to these issues that would be useful under any medical circumstance, that upheld the value of life and the dignity of the person.

Daniel Whyte III has spoken in meetings across the United States and in over twenty-five foreign countries. He is the author of over forty books. He is also the president of Gospel Light Society International, a worldwide evangelistic ministry that reaches thousands with the Gospel each week, as well as president of Torch Ministries International, a Christian literature ministry which publishes a monthly magazine called The Torch Leader. He is heard by thousands each week on his radio broadcasts/podcasts, which include: The Prayer Motivator Devotional, The Prayer Motivator Minute, as well as Gospel Light Minute X, the Gospel Light Minute, the Sunday Evening Evangelistic Message, the Prophet Daniel’s Report, the Second Coming Watch Update and the Soul-Winning Motivator, among others. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Theology from Bethany Divinity College, a Bachelor’s degree in Religion from Texas Wesleyan University, a Master’s degree in Religion, a Master of Divinity degree, and a Master of Theology degree from Liberty University School of Divinity. He has been married to the former Meriqua Althea Dixon, of Christiana, Jamaica for over twenty-seven years. God has blessed their union with seven children. Find out more at Follow Daniel Whyte III on Twitter @prophetdaniel3 or on Facebook.