This is a book I picked up at the local library which is not Christian, but will be of interest to most Christians, I believe. The author, Christopher Kerr, is a hospice doctor who noticed that many of his patients shared similar dreams and visions prior to their death. He decided to study this phenomena and conducted over 1400 interviews with dying people of all ages over more than a decade.
Of course, the experiences of different people reflected their individual lives and personalities. The dreams of some patients contained religious imagery and themes, while others did not. Almost all included deceased family members and loved ones with whom they expected to be reunited and/or reconciled. In most dreams the person saw him or herself as young or healthy again. As death grew closer, the dreams became increasingly more vivid and “real.” This gave the dying a sense of peace and hope. As Dr. Kerr says:
“After all family is our first church, and the tenets of faith are love and forgiveness, the very themes of pre-death dreams and visions.”
Dr. Kerr is careful to avoid explaining why such pre-death experiences are so common. He concludes:
“…it … is not–for me to say. I can’t begin to speculate on an afterlife or on God’s larger plan ….”
However, for many Christians, this will reinforce the belief that there is more to come. We’re not just physical beings, we’re spiritual as well.
What stood out for this author and researcher was one word: love. At the end of life, love was what mattered; love was the most lasting emotion, the thing to savor and hold tight. If God is love, isn’t that completely appropriate? And isn’t this precisely what the Bible teaches?
“ Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears.” 1 Corinthians 13:8-9
I would recommend this book to everyone. We’re all going to die, and we will all experience the death of loved ones.