Daily Devotional for Saturday March 15, 2008
The Death of Someone We Love
"Dear Bill, It is with a broken heart that I'm letting you know that my husband had a massive and fatal heart attack last week. I know he enjoyed your email messages for a long time and that he has communicated with you, and encouraged you in your ministry. He has gone to be with Jesus. Our memories of him are sweet. I thought you would like to know. God Bless"
Sadly, I receive many emails like this every week. The death of someone we love is a difficult part of this brief life we live. That is why we must be grateful for each day God gives us, and never take our life for granted. It is also why we must be prepared for the day we leave this life and help as many as possible be prepared for that day as well. I had just communicated with this woman's husband a few days prior to his death. He is forever with the Lord he loved, though he lives on in all of those lives he touched along his journey.
For each one of us, the one certainty is that one day this life will be over and we will pass into eternity. It is not a question of if, only when. That is why I try often to reinforce to you that we must live each day to its fullest. Our purpose in this life is to serve and glorify God. When it is over, the only thing that we will take with us from this life is our personal relationship with Christ. As real as the fact is that one day we will die, we often take this life for granted. From time to time however, we are confronted with our own mortality and it helps us to refocus on what this life is really about.
One Sunday last March, around 6 p.m. my wife said she was hungry for some soft shell crab and we decided to head out to a little restaurant we know on the Gulf not far from our home for dinner. It was a beautiful Florida evening, temperature in the mid 60s, perfect for a quiet dinner and walk on the beach afterwards. As I was driving out to the restaurant, we were on a two-lane road that would take us to the main road to the Gulf. There was very little traffic that evening and my wife and I were enjoying the time together, escaping all of the daily problems and pressures for a little while.
As I was coming up to an intersection where the traffic had to stop at a stop sign, I saw a car sitting at the stop sign waiting to turn left onto the road we were on. The speed limit was 40 mph, but as I was getting closer to the intersection, "something" inside me told me to slow down. My brain told me there is no way the car sitting at the stop sign would even attempt to turn until I had passed, but again, "something" deep down told me that car was going to turn right in front of me.
All of a sudden, as I was only 50 yards or so away, the car pulled out and began to turn, right in front of me. For an instant, I saw no possibility of avoiding running right through the driver's door of the turning car. Because "something" had told me to start slowing down, I was able to hit my brakes, steer a bit to the right, and avoided what could have easily been a fatal accident. Unfortunately the car behind me was not prepared for what happened and he plowed into the back of my car.
The good news is the driver who hit me was OK, my wife and I were OK, and a potentially deadly accident with the car who turned in front of us was avoided. In that split second when it looked like there was going to be a horrific accident, an incredible calm came over me. In a very clear and concise way, I realized that my wife and I may actually die. You never know how these things will play out, and that was a legitimate possibility. I remember clearly asking God to spare the driver of the other car and my wife, and if I was to die, thanking Him for such a wonderful life. I had a great peace about me and an incredible sense of gratitude for God allowing me to serve Him.
I love you and care about you so very much. I don't say that lightly, especially today. Death is a part of the human experience. The Bible says "O death, where is thy sting!" For those who have put their faith and trust in Jesus Christ it is not an event to be feared, but one that simply marks the end of our time in this life. Don't ever forget this important point. Only God says when our work here is over. So have no fear. As long as He still has work for us to do, we aren't going anywhere. I guess He still has some work left for me to do. I pray each day I am faithful to that work.
I share this with you today just to remind you how precious life really is. Not only how precious, but how quickly it can end. DON'T EVER TAKE YOUR LIFE FOR GRANTED. EACH DAY IS A SPECIAL GIFT FROM GOD. Let me also say that for anyone reading this today, that does not have 100% assurance that if your life ends today you will spend eternity with God, the Bible says TODAY is the day of salvation. Please take a few minutes, the most important few minutes of your life, and go to http://www.liveprayer.com/altarcall.cfm . Simply ask God to open your heart and watch this brief clip.
Trust me when I tell you that in the face of death, knowing that you will spend eternity with Jesus, gives you a peace you can't even describe. For those who do know Christ, make each day count, you just never know when it will be your last. Make sure you do all you can to serve Him each day.