It is never a bad thing to be faced with one’s mortality. Whether it is because of an accident (or, near accident), a persistent pain, or the doctor saying, “We need to run some tests,” it is profitable for us to think about death. Of course, it could be that someone else’s tenuous hold on life causes us to consider what is most important to us.
Now, please do not think this entry is going to be morbid. If you will read on, hopefully you will come to the exact opposite conclusion. I am not speaking of a nihilistic hopelessness that causes one to despair of life, but an appropriate consideration of the inevitable that changes the way we live.
Somewhere along the way in this journey (on these pages or in a sermon) I spoke about the Apostle Paul’s words in 2 Corinthians 1:8-9 in which he recalled his troubles in
The most difficult aspect Linda and I face with her cancer is to understand the balance of desiring and praying for life, yet facing the definite possibility of her death. We absolutely know that it is important to remain positive as we fight with all our might against this mass in Linda’s brain. Even though we know that God often does not choose to work medical miracles, one of the reasons we feel good about Linda’s chances is that so many of you are praying for her to be healed. Until the Lord clearly shows us that it is His will that her time is over here, we will do everything we can spiritually and medically to extend her life.
But, is it wrong to think about death, also? When we speak of death, does that mean we have given up? Of course not! It does mean, though, that we understand, just as Paul did, that our lives are in the Lord’s hands and none of us is guaranteed to see the sun rise tomorrow. God can and will do as He pleases, and whatever He does will be good. And when we live with the “sentence of death” upon us, we are free to live as we never have before!
Just think of how free you would be if you knew your time was limited – and you were OK with that! How would you live?
- You would most likely saturate your life with Scripture, just as Linda is doing.
-You would say the things that you have wanted to say for so long to those who mean the most to you.
- You would be bolder in your willingness to tell others about Jesus.
- You would want to worship Jesus more and get to know Him better.
-You would want to tie up loose ends and read old books (that are like old friends) again.
-You would live as though every day were your last, and thus, you would not waste nearly as much time as you presently do, because you would be aware that you would have to give an account for your life at any moment. (OK, I know the Judgment Seat of Christ is a bit later on the eschatological calendar, but your chance to make a difference in your report will be over at death)
We have recently been deeply touched by friends who embrace the sentence of death in their hearts. One dear lady in our church has struggled with an excruciating blood disorder for years that constantly threatens to take her life. Another gentleman in our church who has served the Lord faithfully for the greatest portion of his 86 years has battled cancer and heart disease for quite a long time and willingly speaks of his home with Jesus in such a way that it makes you want to go right now. One friend has struggled with cancer for years, and it appears that she may be losing her battle with this difficult disease. Another friend is very much alive, but in addition to losing her mother to cancer when she was 19, she has struggled with health issues for years. All four of our friends are intimately acquainted with Jesus, and all are willing to speak openly of death. Morbid? NOT ON YOUR LIFE! The sweet fragrance of Jesus permeates their entire beings! You will not find four people more alive than our friends. Oh, to be like these godly believers and their incredible spouses who walk with them in their journeys of suffering!
Linda is forced to think about death, though she confesses hesitation and struggles with feelings of inadequacy at the prospect of soon going to be with Jesus. I am privileged – not forced – to face her mortality with her. Since we live in 21st century America, I must repeat that to acknowledge this does not mean either of us in any way accept her soon departure as inevitable. But, as you know, the current death rate is 100%, and death will find all of us at our appointed time. Far better that we are all prepared, rather than not. Far better that we live with the sentence of death upon us so that we will be properly motivated to make the most of this day. I will write more about death in future blog entries (there is probably a better way to say that, but shocked as I know you will be, I am new to the blogosphere!), but I promise to eschew morbidity. To be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord – where is the sadness in that? Well, there is sadness for those left behind, but that is also for another day.
Please know that Linda read and approved every word (though I have made a few additional changes since her critique – I am never through writing; I have to just quit). In fact, I am happy to report that with a red pen in her right hand, her editing skills remain exquisite! Until next time, begin to live with the sentence of death upon yourself.