Will power: where there’s a will, there’s a way

As time marches on, it's like my contemporaries and I blinked our eyes, and here we are with more years behind us than in front of us.

One of the saddest commentaries of humanity is what happens when a person dies. Not what happens to the deceased, whose soul lives forever united with God or forever separated from God, but what happens to those who remain.

Sadly, the death of a loved one can cause anger, hurt feelings, divisiveness, and fighting among people who should be drawing closer together, grieving over their common loss, and hopefully rejoicing over Heaven’s gain.

But like me, you’ve heard such stories or unfortunately been a part of that drama. It’s heartbreaking and it happens all too often. That’s why it is so important for all of us “grown folks” to make a Last Will and Testament.

To quote a reliable statistic, the current death rate is 100 percent. In short, outside of the rapture of the church, we will all be greeted by physical death someday. Are you ready, and have you made the necessary preparations for those loved ones you will leave behind? Please don’t wait - properly document your last wishes today!

It’s not a “fun” subject but such a necessary one. One of the ten major topics in our JUST US Couples Game (available on our website) is Plans For Death, because too few people take the time and make the time to secure those plans.

No, a will does not guarantee harmony and can be contested. However, a will that is completed by someone of sound mind can leave little doubt as to what his or her wishes are. And in the best of situations, family members and loved ones might feel slighted to some degree but will honor those wishes.

As time marches on, it's like my contemporaries and I blinked our eyes, and here we are with more years behind us than in front of us. To paraphrase several preachers, we are not in the land of the living going to the land of the dying. We're in the land of the dying trying to get to the land of the living. Heaven is a real place. Hell is a real place as well.

Thankfully, those of us who have truly accepted Jesus as our Lord and Savior can praise Him because He has secured for us victory over death, Hell, and the grave. If you genuinely trust in the finished work of Jesus, you have eternal life with Him. God's Word tells us that "Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me," Psalm 23:4.

Losing someone close to you is one of the most difficult things to deal with in all the complicated landscapes of life. No matter how “prepared” we are, or think we are, a death leaves us in a state of disbelief, shock, and sadness. It can muddle our thinking. Yet at the same time, we have to make final arrangements for our loved one. That sometimes involves making difficult decisions.

That’s why you and I need to do all we can to ease that transition for our dearly beloved who remain. Sadly, the two greatest sources of conflict for grieving families are money and belongings – their bank accounts and their possessions. Some of us cannot imagine fighting with our siblings or relatives at such a time.

It happens.

And then there are funeral plans. Did the deceased want burial or cremation? Are they an organ donor? What kind of funeral service did they want? What about the house? What if one sibling wants the house while another sibling wants the house to be sold?

I recently spoke with my 81-year-old mother about what her funeral preferences would be. She was adamant that she did not want a parade of people coming up to “give her flowers” that she would not be able to hear or appreciate.

She instructed me to keep it simple, and I will follow her wishes should the Lord ordain her to depart before me.

Please plan ahead, for everyone’s sake. We can expect the unexpected in this life, and the sooner we get our affairs in order, the better. Put your end-of-life wishes in writing with witnesses and a notary. It might sound cold, but it is meant with the best of intentions from one who has witnessed the carnage that a lack of planning can cause. It’s incredibly sad. A friend of mine had a “falling out” with his lawyer brother after their father passed and they have not spoken in more than 20 years.

Unless you and I provide clarity about how we want things handled, trouble is right around the corner. A 2021 Gallup Poll stated that slightly less than half of U.S. adults (46%) have a will that describes how they would like their money and estate handled. Are you one of them? Please get on the other side of that statistic.

Did you know that when you die without a will, you leave important decisions up to a local court and the laws of your state? You no longer have a voice in who receives your life’s earnings, your property, your assets. Do you really want your state government to decide that for you? Of course not.

Make a will and do it today. Spare your loved ones from a world of trouble. Choose the person you want to best handle your affairs and who will follow your wishes. Make the tough choices as to who gets what or, if you choose, who gets nothing. Don’t leave it up to your family to guess what your preferences were – or worse yet, to fight it out in court. In death, you can also choose to leave a positive impact on the world through supporting a charity or a worthy cause close to your heart.

There’s so much more, but you get the picture. Create a road map for your loved ones and give yourself peace of mind. They may be “hurt” at some of your choices, but true love and respect means that they will honor your wishes, even if it means getting over those hurt feelings.

Just remember – where there’s a will, there’s a way.

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