May 9, 2011
The Big C
But it caused me to do some thinking. Obviously, keeping thoughts of death at bay was difficult. Thoughts naturally gravitate to the important things in life when one's demise is a real possibility. Will my wife be taken care of properly? Will someone watch out for my daughter? Will they be able to move on without too much sadness or anger? What will I dedicate my last days to getting done?
Maybe those aren't the thoughts that would have run through your mind, but they are the ones that ran through mine.
I don't think it is healthy to wallow around in these feelings. For many cancer is not an automatic death sentence anymore, and a positive attitude goes a long way in the fight against such diseases. But I do think it was an opportunity to regain some perspective; to ask myself, What is important?
No one can answer that for you, but facing the real possibility of death will narrow things down for you in an instant. I realize that for me it focused on my wife and daughter, and what would happen to the people of my church. I didn't think about Crossroads Vineyard continuing...only about the people. I didn't even think about my personal spiritual state...because I'm trusting in Christ for all of that.
Anyway, I did find a verse, one I have found useful before, in 1 Thessalonians 4:13-14. "Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope. For we believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him."
Those who follow Jesus do not have to mourn the way the rest of the world does...because we have hope. The Resurrected Jesus whom we celebrate at Easter will return and bring resurrection to all of God's people who have "fallen asleep." Paul is so confident of the resurrection of Jesus' followers that he says they have simply fallen asleep.
The great and wonderful hope of our resurrection means we do not mourn in the same way the world does. We know that death is not the end, and that one day death will be defeated permanently. v.17 goes on to say that after our resurrection, "we will be with the Lord forever." We have hope that everything we have done will not come to nothing, and all because of the resurrection.
Even if death had been my end it would have only been temporary. I'm glad for the perspective, but I'm also glad for the good report. Now back to expanding the Kingdom of God!