I’ve been thinking a lot lately — about some serious stuff: life, death, mortality, priorities, eternal values… things like that. God seems to be reminding me of all this from a number of angles.
If you’ve read our updates, you know that Donna’s mom was recently diagnosed with terminal cancer. It’s already widespread with high concentration in her liver, and the doctors are saying she has about two months to live. That is very sad, of course. Thankfully, she is a believer, and has lived a full life.
But I also have a good friend–a pastor and former missionary–who has ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease.) Another missionary friend has leukemia, although it’s presently in remission. And then about a week ago, a good friend who is my age told me over lunch that he had been diagnosed with a rare blood disorder that could mean he only has five years left. Then the other day I got an email with the news that another really good friend has an enlarged heart (due to a previous viral infection) that could lead to heart failure.
Hearing that kind of stuff really makes you think. And it sure makes you pray more, as it is happening to people you really care about… to individuals and families. I found myself thinking, “Lord these guys are young! They have families…” and I found myself questioning God’s wisdom, or at the very least His sense of timing!
Then the Lord reminded me that we are all “terminal.” Each of us, whether we admit it or not, have a very finite number of days to live our life here on earth–you, me, all of us.
Of course I have absolutely no idea what it must feel like to have a doctor look you in the eye and give you the kind of news my friends recently heard. No idea at all. I realize that is a very different situation from simply being “human” and therefore “mortal.” That universally human condition is something we all share in common and can too easily forget. But God was trying to tell me something in all this.
I starting thinking… you know, that “possible heart failure” might never come (I’m sure praying it doesn’t!) And the guy who has been given “maybe only five years to live” might live another 10 years… or 20… or more (and again, that is my prayer for my friend!) But on the other hand, I might not even live until tomorrow… only God knows that!
I imagine that hearing that kind of prognosis would change the way you live, they way you think. But those of us who haven’t received any frightening news from our doctor can be living quite foolishly, forgetting (or at least neglecting to remember) that we should also “number our days.” God reminded me that all of us, whether or not we are facing some disturbing medical situation, should live in the same way: glorify God, enjoy each moment to the max, and live for things that really matter.
So now I’m praying two things… for my friends, I’m praying earnestly that God would either heal them or allow them to live on for many years in spite of their apparent physical weakness.
But for myself… I’m praying that I will live as though I have no guarantee of tomorrow.
How about you…