by Pastor Tim Burt
Helen was an extremely kind woman who considered herself ordinary in every way. Others knew her for her kind heart and unwavering faith in God. Helen’s world turned upside down when her beloved husband, Robert, was diagnosed with a rapid-forming dementia. The doctor gave him approximately six months to live. Deeply concerned and feeling in a bit of a fog, from the news, Helen sought solace and guidance from her trusted confidant, Pastor Tim. She had called to set up an appointment with him and came in days later with her eyes filled with worry and her heart heavy with fear. Pastor Tim, with his warm smile and gentle voice, welcomed her and invited her to take a seat.
As they sat in his office, Pastor Tim listened attentively to Helen’s worries and fears. He could see the weight she carried on her shoulders. With compassion in his eyes, he asked, “Helen, in the midst of your prayers for a miracle, have you considered the practical aspects of what lies ahead?” Perplexed, Helen replied, “Pastor Tim, I’ve been so consumed with praying for Robert’s healing that I haven’t thought about anything else. What do you mean?”
Pastor Tim leaned forward, his voice filled with wisdom and care, “Helen, I want you to know that I believe in the power of prayer and miracles. However, it’s also important to prepare for what lies ahead practically. They are not in conflict with each other. I am asking this because it will be on your mind at some point in the near future, and the worries and cares it will bring will steal from this very important time ahead. Do you have a completed will and all the necessary details of your estate in order?”
Helen’s eyes widened, realizing she hadn’t even considered these matters. Overwhelmed, she confided in Pastor Tim, sharing how Robert had always handled their finances and legal affairs. She admitted that she knew very little about their financial situation. She had never paid a bill in their entire marriage. Robert did all that!
With a reassuring smile, Pastor Tim said, “Helen, let’s take some time to pray about all of this. But afterward, I want you and Robert to sit down with a very good advisor I’ll give you the name of, and I want you to create an end-of-life plan. He will bring other advisors to this conversation who will help transfer power of attorney to you, ensure your will is written, and have Robert go through everything—your bank accounts, the location of your funds, your social security, how to process your bills, and anything else you will need to know, step by step so it’s all written out for you to follow.
Relieved to have someone guide her through this daunting process, Helen nodded and said, “Thank you, Pastor Tim. I never realized how important it is to have these things in order. I want to focus on our remaining days together without the added stress or worry of these kinds of things.”
Helen did not waste a minute. She immediately contacted the key person Pastor Tim had recommended and within days this group of professionals was busy helping Helen and Robert lay out their end-of-life plan with the necessary expertise, swiftly getting everything organized. The power of attorney was transferred, the will was written, and Robert patiently charted out all the information with their accounts, their banks, and how to pay bills. He walked Helen through their financial affairs and wrote out instructions for things she would need to remember. What seemed so overwhelming was now in order.
As the days turned into weeks, Helen felt a newfound peace settling in her heart. She marveled at how Pastor Tim’s guidance had eased their burden, allowing them to focus on their love for God, the memories they shared with each other, and building final precious memories with their children and family.
Though the doctors had initially told Robert he had six months to live, he lived only three more months. Robert passed away peacefully, surrounded by his family. Helen and her children found solace and strength in their preparedness. The smooth transition of the estate allowed them to honor Robert’s wishes and plan a beautiful celebration of his life, free from the chaos and rush that often accompanies such moments.
After his death, Helen approached Pastor Tim about officiating Robert’s Celebration of Life service. She also wanted to express her deep gratitude. As they sat in his office, Helen beamed with joy. She recounted how every step they had taken, guided by Pastor Tim’s wisdom, had unfolded seamlessly. The burden had been lifted, and their focus remained on celebrating Robert’s life and cherishing their memories.
Touched by her words, Pastor Tim couldn’t help but smile. “Helen,” he said, “You have no idea of how many people I have tried to help think ahead and plan for this part of their life. Unfortunately, most people hate thinking of death. They think it’s morbid to do so and have countless excuses for avoiding it. And so, over the years, I have watched hundreds of people face the hardships that their unpreparedness for death created. Very few listened as you did, and even fewer responded and acted as quickly as you did! And for that reason, I commend you and Robert. Your willingness to listen and do what I recommended, helped prepare you both spiritually and naturally for what comes with life and death. Robert lived right, and died right! So thank you for the peace I feel as a Pastor being able to see you come through all this with such great peace, hope, and confidence! God bless you!
Hebrews 9:27 (NIV) “Just as man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment..”
Although the names of been changed, this is a true story! It’s my prayer that you will not be one that avoids the planning of death. Everyone dies! How you live and how you die (your preparation in advance of it) are your choices. Make the choice to Live Right and Die Right!
In His love,
Pastor Tim Burt
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