Rick has just lost a special cousin to cancer. We were able to visit him twice, and hoped to see him again. We also wanted to know if he believed in Jesus and knew where he was going. His face lit up when we asked, and he said, “Oh, yes, I believe in Jesus.” We didn’t worry after that, but we still hoped we’d have more time. He had been told ten months, then two. It ended up being less than a month.
Sadly, he is not the only relative or friend facing a diagnosis of terminal cancer. It seems to be a growing trend these days. I lost my father when he was 71 and my mother when she was 75. Those ages sound young to me now that I am sixty-eight and qualify for Social Security.
Death makes the living reassess their lives. If we were given a diagnosis with short time-line, would we do anything any differently? How would we spend those last months or weeks? Would God want us to do anything differently? Time in this body and in this fallen world is limited. We can thank Him for that. God is gracious and merciful. He didn’t allow Adam and Eve to eat the fruit of the Tree of Life or all of mankind would be stuck forever in our sin nature.
Rick and I have been talking about all this. We don’t want to come to a place where we no longer have the strength to do anything, and then say, “Oh, we coulda done this. We shoulda done that.”
A survey of residents in care facilities asked what they would do differently if they could live their lives over. The majority said (1) they’d take more risks, and (2) they would invest in eternal things rather than focus on possessions.
Forget sky-diving and swimming with great whites. Sometimes a risk is walking down the street to a new neighbor and asking if they’d be interested in joining you for a Bible study. It can be sitting on a bench with a homeless man or woman and beginning a conversation. It can be standing up and speaking out against euthanasia, abortion, and sex trafficking when the majority just wants you to sit down and shut up. Sometimes taking risks is all about investing in eternal things and knowing God is at work even when it doesn’t look that way.
In the days ahead, Rick and I will know and grieve other relatives and friends who pass from this limited life to timeless eternity. Death is a natural part of life. Heaven awaits for those who believe in Christ. God decides when we lay this body down and walk through the door. Sometimes there is no warning. For me, that means each day is an opportunity for reflection and decision.
Lord, thank You for the life You’ve given us. What would You have us do today?