He Taught Me How Not to Fear Dying

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I just lost my dear friend and spiritual brother, Dr. Ron Arko, as he went back to heaven.

I’ve known Ron and Dori Arko for almost 7 years. My husband and I spent a delightful day with them in 2014 in their home in Newport Beach, California. We’ve talked nearly every two weeks for those past 7 years–heart to heart talks.

Dr. Ron and I shared a love for people. a passion for seeing them healed, a delight in God and his ways, a fascination with quantum physics and true science, and so much more. We agreed we were more than friends; we were truly spiritual brother and sister, our hearts knit together by God himself.

Ron was a very wise and gifted therapist, and a great encourager. He always knew how to build up a person. He made you feel like you were his favorite. He cherished his wife, Dori, in such a tender way, it made you want to weep and do whatever it takes to have that, too. He counseled a lot of couples and people in ministry, too.

I confessed to Ron a few weeks ago, as he was wasting away with cancer, that I was not afraid to die. I was afraid of the process of dying.

Yet, seeing how Ron handled his impending departure from this world, with an unwavering faith in God’s goodness, with love and peace and even joy, and absolutely no bitterness, patiently enduring the pain–it changed me.

When he got his diagnosis of terminal cancer, one of the first things Ron did was write his biography. He asked me to edit it. It was a wonderful exercise for him to review his life and tell what he thought was important. Knowing the subtext was especially poignant for me. It made me think about what I would say about my own life.

Something else changed me: what he shared about what happened when he died for 10 minutes at age 15 and went to heaven.

He told me about this heavenly vision just a few weeks ago, as he was getting weaker and weaker from the cancer. He had never told anyone but Dori until recently. Now he has shared it publicly.

You can watch him talk about his trip to heaven and get a sense of his beautiful life, at http://newheart.org.

“Once you have experienced the glory of God,” he said, “you never see life the same again. You don’t have any fear, and you don’t hang onto things of this world.”

I had always wondered how Ron handled the many traumas of his life so well. How he could be so loving, kind and generous, and have such a loving relationship with his wife, when nothing in his background equipped him for that.

Now I knew.

Ron helped me overcome my fear of dying. He died of a particularly gruesome form of cancer. In his last days of life, Ron told me that because he had already had God’s glory and love shoot through him when he was in heaven the first time, he believed it changed him on a cellular level and that’s why he always had such a high tolerance for pain. He told me God would prepare me for whatever I would face, just as he had prepared Ron. I could trust in God’s goodness for the means of my death. And now i finally believe it.

“God is good, all the time,” Ron always said. He never wavered in that.

I believe it now, Ron. I believe it. . . . Thank you. Thank you for showing me how to live life as though everything is a miracle. I know this is, as you said, only a temporary separation. I look forward to our reunion, and I can feel you cheering me on from heaven, just as you did from earth.

 

 

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Ruth Henderson
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Ruth Henderson

This is a beautiful tribute to Ron and I agree wholeheartedly with what you said about him. He was a dear friend to my husband and I as well. We marveled at the grace of God on him as he modeled walking through the valley of the shadow of death. We are so thankful we got to know and love him!

Dori
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Dori

Thanks, Diane for sharing how, Ron continued to help those around him, even as he was fading. He loved God, and loved serving God by helping people.

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