Religion Today: Am I Going To Die?
Guest Writer Spotlight: Am I Going To Day? – By Richard Lewis
In July 2014, Emergency Medical Technician, Matthew O’Reilly, gave a TED conference lecture on: “An EMT’s Answer to (the question) ‘Am I Going To Die?’”
O’Reilly had been called to the scene of many accidents where it was obvious the patient would have only minutes to live with no chance of survival. It was in those moments of trying to save the patient’s life that they would often ask him if they were going to die. He was conflicted with what to say in these situations. Should he tell the person that he was going to live when there was actually no hope? Should he tell them they were doing everything they could to help him when in reality there was little to nothing they could do?
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O’Reilly explained it this way, “I was faced with a dilemma: Do I tell the dying that they are about to face death, or do I lie to them to comfort them? Early in my career, I faced this dilemma by simply lying. I was afraid. I was afraid if I told them the truth, that they would die in terror, in fear, just grasping for those last moments of life.”
This issue all came into focus at an accident situation where a motorcyclist had been badly injured. The motorcyclist asked him the question, “Am I going to die?” O’Reilly explained, “I decided to tell him the truth. I decided to tell him that he was going to die and that there was nothing I could do for him. His reaction shocked me to this day. He simply laid back and had a look of acceptance on his face. He was not met with that terror or fear that I thought he would be. He simply laid there, and as I looked into his eyes, I saw inner peace and acceptance. From that moment forward, I decided it was not my place to comfort the dying with my lies.”
O’Reilly observed 3 patterns that emerged from interaction with patients in almost all of these imminent death cases:
1. No matter what their religious or cultural background there was a need for forgiveness for sin or regrets. There seemed to be a universal feeling of guilt.
2. There is a need for remembrance. O’Reilly even had patients ask him if he would remember them.
3. They wanted to know their life had meaning and had not been wasted.
O’Reilly’s experiences and observations were given at a secular conference but they really dovetail with what the bible says about the end of life.
Death is unpredictable:
James 4:13 – 15 Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.”
Christ was sacrificed to take away our sin and guilt:
Hebrews 9:27 “Just as people are destined to die once, and after that to face judgment, so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him.”
We need to redeem the time we have on earth:
Ephesians 5:15 & 16 “Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.”
There is no reason to fear death. Death has been conquered and our eternal home is being prepared for us:
John 14:1-3 “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.”
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What God has waiting for us will be beyond our expectations:
1Corinthians 2:9 However, as it is written: “What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no human mind has conceived” — the things God has prepared for those who love him.
The pain and loss we have experienced in this life will soon be a distant memory:
Revelation 21:4 “He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”
If you are interested in seeing the original 5 minute Matthew O’Reilly lecture, here is the link:
Richard Lewis is a graduate of Arizona State University (Advertising) and California Baptist University (Computer Information Systems). Richard and his wife Sue met while they served as staff members at Campus Crusade for Christ for 8 years in the 1970’s. Richard served in the Campus Ministry at University of Texas at El Paso, Louisiana Tech and at the International Headquarters in San Bernardino, California.
Following their ministry in Campus Crusade Richard was the owner and manager of a bicycle shop in Riverside California for 19 years. After retraining in the computer field at California Baptist University, Richard worked as a Information Systems contractor and employee at Boeing for 17 years. Richard has written over 150 published articles in Information Systems and Computing publications including Windows Magazine and Windows Scripting Solutions. Richard has served in a leadership role as a Deacon and Elder in several churches as well as being a meditation presenter and Men’s Ministry coordinator.
Richard has written hundreds of meditations and devotionals that have been used in church and small group meetings. Many of these have been published in The Upper Room and Racers For Christ publications and on their web sites.
In 2021 Richard published a collection of his devotionals. These are available in a Kindle and paperback format on Amazon (ISBN 979-8705738878) “Life Stories to Uplift and Encourage”.
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Trevor Montgomery, 49, moved in 2017 to the Intermountain area of Shasta County from Riverside County and runs Riverside County News Source (RCNS) and Shasta County News Source (SCNS).
Additionally, he writes or has written for several other news organizations; including Riverside County-based newspapers Valley News, Valley Chronicle, Anza Valley Outlook, and Hemet & San Jacinto Chronicle; the Bonsall/Fallbrook Village News in San Diego County; and Mountain Echo in Shasta County. He is also a regular contributor to Thin Blue Line TV and Law Enforcement News Network and has had his stories featured on news stations throughout the Southern California and North State regions.
Trevor spent 10 years in the U.S. Army as an Orthopedic Specialist before joining the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department in 1998. He was medically retired after losing his leg, breaking his back, and suffering both spinal cord and brain injuries in an off-duty accident. (Click here to see segment of Discovery Channel documentary of Trevor’s accident.)
During his time with the sheriff’s department, Trevor worked at several different stations; including Robert Presley Detention Center, Southwest Station in Temecula, Hemet/Valle Vista Station, Ben Clark Public Safety Training Center, and Lake Elsinore Station; along with other locations.
Trevor’s assignments included Corrections, Patrol, DUI Enforcement, Boat and Personal Water-Craft based Lake Patrol, Off-Road Vehicle Enforcement, Problem Oriented Policing Team, and Personnel/Background Investigations. He finished his career while working as a Sex Crimes and Child Abuse Investigator and was a court-designated expert in child abuse and child sex-related crimes.
Trevor has been married for more than 30 years and was a foster parent to more than 60 children over 13 years. He is now an adoptive parent and his “fluid family” includes 13 children and 18 grandchildren.