Can We Die Before our Appointed Time?
Have you ever known anyone who has been in far too many accidents to be considered normal and yet they have come through them each time? I have a cousin who has survived being hit by a car on his bike, crashing in an airplane, falling off a cliff, and plenty more. This guy just can’t be held down! Through all his close calls, he has been so positive and cheerful. Why are some so resilient and others not?
The Lord has told us in D&C 42:48, “And again, it shall come to pass that he that hath faith in me to be healed, and is not appointed unto death, shall be healed.” I take from this verse that man has an appointed time on this planet. However, if we are behaving foolishly and not listening to the Lord’s warnings, I think it is possible that we can shorten our time on the earth. I would like to use the experience of a righteous LDS woman.
Meg Johnson is a prominent motivational speaker who is a C7 quadriplegic. She literally jumped off a cliff by accident, causing her lifetime paralysis. While she was in the hospital, President Hinckley was there visiting his precious wife who was ill. While there, he visited Meg and administered a priesthood blessing. She heard words telling her that Jesus Christ knew where she was, what had happened to her and what would happen to her and those words gave her courage. (1) Her life was not meant to be over.
Not only did her experience bring her closer to the Savior, but she is now working hard to do good and lift others through her experience. She is a warrior in the Lord’s army.
Helaman led 2060 boys into war. These boys were faithful and righteous, and their opposition was fierce and numerous. Anyone would have assumed that there would be a great loss in his young army, but that wasn’t what happened. The Lord had not appointed any of these youngsters to death, even though they were all wounded. When we are righteous, faithful and obeying the Lord’s commandments, He will preserve us. (Alma 53)
Watch and Pray
3 Nephi 18:18 records, “Behold, verily, verily, I say unto you, ye must watch and pray always lest ye enter into temptation; for Satan desireth to have you, that he may sift you as wheat.” As we abandon the Lord’s commands, we give up the protection of our Lord and become subject to the enemy’s devices.
President Spencer W. Kimball said, “Just as Ecclesiastes (3:2) says, I am confident that there is a time to die, but I believe also that many people die before “their time” because they are careless, abuse their bodies, take unnecessary chances, or expose themselves to hazards, accidents, and sickness. …
God controls our lives, guides and blesses us, but gives us our agency. We may live our lives in accordance with his plan for us or we may foolishly shorten or terminate them.”2
Ultimately, I think it is possible that we could die before our time when we choose to stray from the straight and narrow path, but it is important to remember that the Lord is in charge. He knows what each of us need most for the benefit of our eternal progression. We may be protected from danger only to live with the consequences of our choices because He wishes us to grow. Perhaps, we choose our own growing experiences by our choices.
- “Spiritual Paralysis” Episode 9, Meg Johnson, Mormon Channel, For the Youth
- “Chapter 2: Tragedy or Destiny?” Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Spencer W. Kimball(2006), 11–21