“At that time shall arise Michael, the great prince who has charge of your people. And there shall be a time of trouble, such as never has been since there was a nation till that time. But at that time your people shall be delivered, everyone whose name shall be found written in the book. 2 And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt. 3 And those who are wise shall shine like the brightness of the sky above; and those who turn many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever. 4 But you, Daniel, shut up the words and seal the book, until the time of the end. Many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall increase.” – Daniel 11:1-4
A godly woman died in her advanced age – after many years lying in a nursing home bed. I would visit her regularly, praying for her, reading a devotion, praying former and attempting to talk with her. Toward the end of her life she was completely unresponsive. She had no family, and I did not visit her often. I wondered if my visits were doing her any good at all. Perhaps the nurses were somehow encouraged to continue to provide her care because someone would occasionally show up. Maybe she heard things I said or prayers that I read and prayed; I really have no indication whether or not that was the case.
When she died, however, I sensed this was a case of being delivered from evil. Her last hours were anything but peaceful. She was taken to the hospital – in all her aged frailty – and subjected to X-rays, and other medically-unnecessary procedures. I felt that she was being totally taken advantage of. I was disgusted and distressed at her treatment.
Her death, however, offered her an end to her human earthly suffering. I would never opt for or advocate euthanasia. That is not I had hoped for in her case. But I would certainly have hoped that she could depart in peace.
St. Paul says that the suffering of this present age is not worth comparing to the joy that will be ours in the life of the world to come. That offers me great hope in light of this dear woman’s suffering. So do the words here in Daniel:
But at that time your people shall be delivered, everyone whose name shall be found written in the book. 2 And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt. – Daniel 11:1-2
There will come a time when those who belong to the Lord will rise to everlasting life. That will be a joy and blessing, and for some truly a deliverance from evil, for which we can truly thank God.