7th September 2019

Expected DoD

“Some of you say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go to a certain city’…You do not really know what will happen tomorrow…So, what you ought to say is, ‘If the Lord agrees and we are still alive, then we will do this or that.’”
James 4:13-15 (Easy English)

Never before had I been prompted to fill in a log-in profile with my ‘Expected DoD’. In my experience, it is acceptable to ask for someone’s date of birth, but not this.

If you haven’t ‘twigged’ what I’m talking about, this acronym refers to expected date of death. In this instance it appeared to be a standard field in an off-the-shelf software package for an American website. Inasmuch as this was an assault on my British sensibilities and culture, the more I thought about the concept, the more I recognised that the pension-planning and life-insurance industry centres on exactly this information. All organisations rely on obtaining money to remain in existence, so perhaps this is just sound financial modelling. Still, it did prompt me to ask when do I expect my day of death to be?

Will I manage the ‘70 years’ talked about in Psalm 90:10 or reach my 80s? Or will my paternal genetics that saw my father die at 52 and grandfather at 58, prevail? Ecclesiastes 5:18a reminds us that “God has given to us a short life on this earth” and 6:12 says, “We live for only a few years…”

The fact is, none of us know ‘what is around the corner’ (Proverbs 27:1, Ecclesiastes 7:14). This was brought home to me very abruptly, recently, when my consistently healthy, fit husband was struck down by a very rare type of stroke. Consultants said he would never wake up or breathe on his own again, as a brain-stem blood clot impeded his ability to breathe and remain conscious. By the grace of God he survived and has resumed normal life.

Reflecting on our ‘expected day of death’ is a difficult thing, but perhaps it’s a responsible discussion to have. Paul told Timothy that believers should provide for their families (1 Timothy 5:8), and readers take this to refer to the present. But do we have a duty of care beyond our death? I think so. For example, have we written a will? Have we made known to those close to us how we would like to be buried, where, or by whom? If we have children, are there potential plans for their care? Do we own animals? Would we be leaving others a mess to sort out after we are gone? When we are alive is the time to plan for our death—not in a morbid sense, but as part of caring for those we love.

Have you prepared for your expected DoD?

Lord God, thank you for the gift of life that you give us – not just physical life, but the promise of an eternal future with You.

Study by Irene Tibbenham

About the Author:
Irene Tibbenham is a Deaconess and serves on the Pastoral Council in the Norwich Congregation of the Worldwide Church of God UK, a part of Grace Communion International.

Local Congregation:
Worldwide Church of God Norwich
New Hope Christian Centre
Martineau Lane

Meeting Time:
Saturday 10:30am

Local Congregational Contact:
Tony Goudie
Phone: 01508 498165
Mobile: 07931 580409
Email: tony_goudie@wcg.org.uk

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