Heavenly Father has a plan for the eternal happiness of His children. An essential principle of His plan is agency, or the ability to choose. Heavenly Father wants all of His children to return to His presence and to live with Him for all eternity. However, He gave each of His children the great gift of agency and left the choice to us of what we would become. A great prophet named Lehi lived in ancient America and taught the following to his posterity just prior to his death.
Wherefore, men are free according to the flesh; and all things are given them which are expedient unto man. And they are free to choose liberty and eternal life, through the great Mediator of all men, or to choose captivity and death, according to the captivity and power of the devil; for he seeketh that all men might be miserable like unto himself (2 Nephi 2:27).
The above scripture teaches the importance of using our agency wisely to choose liberty and eternal life. Another prophet in ancient America by the name of Alma taught that temporal death is part of Heavenly Father’s plan and comes upon all mankind. He also taught that “there is a space granted unto man in which he might repent; therefore this life became a probationary state; a time to prepare to meet God” (Alma 12-24).
Heavenly Father gave agency to us and allows us to choose what we will do in this life. However, He allows us only so much time in mortality. It is a probationary time in which we are to prepare to meet God. Knowing all these things, what would you do if God whispered to you that you had one more day to live?
I have considered this question for some years. I have often asked myself about the kind of death that I would prefer. Would I prefer to go quickly with little pain, or would I prefer to go more gradually, suffer some pain but have the opportunity to tell loved ones goodbye. This idea hit home with me this year as I lost dearly loved older brother and his son within just four months or so.
My brother was suffering from ill health and had been in and out of the hospital for a few weeks. There were a few times when family members thought that he had passed, but he came back. He knew that he had a matter of days to live and asked to be taken home. He returned home and had an opportunity to tell his wife, children, grandchildren, and other family members goodbye. Then he quietly passed to the next life. He was prepared to meet God.
My nephew also had a warning that his time was near. About the time that his father died, doctors found a tumor in his lungs. Numerous tests were done, and doctors told him that there was no way to lengthen his life. He was in the hospital on oxygen, but he wanted to see as many family members and friends as he could see in his last days. He made the decision to be taken off oxygen, and his family gathered to be with him on his last day. The oxygen was taken off, and he continued to breathe. He returned to his home where he continued to receive visitors for a day or two until his body gave out. He too was prepared to meet God.
My brother suffered with different health problems for about two years before he died. My nephew fought health problems for thirty-five years before the cancer was found in his lungs. Each of them suffered pain and discomfort, but both of them met death on their own terms. I decided that it would be nice to do likewise.
These thoughts have been going through my mind for several months. Then I listened to a talk given in the April 2018 General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints by Elder Taylor G. Godoy of the Seventy. His talk was titled “One More Day,” and the title was taken from the tombstone of the son of some friends.
Elder Godoy shares the story of a boy who was diagnosed with Hunter syndrome, a rare condition that meant he would have a short life. One day he was visiting the temple grounds with his family and said “one more day” two times. He passed away the next day. He was prepared to meet God. After this introduction, Elder Godoy continues.
Regardless of the time the Lord, in His wisdom, determines to grant each of us, of one thing we can be sure: we all have a “today” to live, and the key to making our day successful is to be willing to sacrifice.
So, what would you do today if you received the prompting that you had “one more day” to live? What would you sacrifice? Would you choose to spend your time with family and friends, or would you be more concerned about worldly activities?
One day we will all have just “one more day” in mortality, and then we will pass into eternity. If we have chosen well, we will be prepared to meet God. If we have not made good choices, we will face the consequences. I certainly hope and pray that I will be prepared.