We’re taking a break from our Through the Bible Character Study because…well…Lyndsey and I are having technical difficulties with the voice recording app on our phones. Yep. There it is—the truth in all its unglamorous detail. The smartphones are smarter than we are, and until the techy guys fix the problem, we’re at their mercy.
We hope to do podcast posts for the next two weeks to catch up—Lord willing! Prayers much appreciated.
Let’s Talk Life
I’ve been visiting with my family in Indiana this week and have been struck by God’s faithfulness in the midst of both good things and hard times.
Life is a heavily debated topic (abortion, assisted suicide, etc.) yet a foregone conclusion for most of us. How many of us ever really think, This could be my last day on earth? Don’t worry. This isn’t a morbid post. Quite the opposite, actually.
My hubby Roy and I visited with my sister and brother-in-law this week. A year ago, my bro-in-law, Dan, was a hulking, sixty-six-year-old man who ran his own excavating business. On December 13, 2015, he had a massive heart attack while on the way to the Indianapolis Veteran’s Hospital. His heart stopped, and he was without oxygen for thirty minutes—yes, 30 minutes. But when my sister pulled into the emergency drive, a team of folks began trying to resuscitate him. After Herculean efforts, they revived his heart and placed him on a ventilator. He was alive but completely unresponsive. The docs gave my sister and their ten children no hope for his recovery.
But the docs had never met a praying family like my sister’s. Expected to die quietly, Dan was almost taken off the ventilator multiply times within the first three weeks. Sometimes hours—or even minutes—before removing the vent, he’d revive for a moment or whisper, “I love you,” to my sister. It was enough to buy him more time.
To make a very long story short, God gave Dan a second chance at life. My bro-in-law is a walking, talking miracle man, and his story spread like wildfire through the Indianapolis Veteran’s Hospital. All praise to our God and Savior, Jesus Christ!
Life is Hard, Recovery Slow
Recovery has been slow for Dan, re-learning to talk, to walk, to see shapes, recognize faces, taste, and smell—everything new. This strong bull of a man has been fighting the most brutal battle of his life, the deterioration of his own body—but he’s winning. Slowly.
He was a decorated Vietnam vet, a farmer, an excavator, a wood craftsman, a father of ten, grandfather of…I’ve lost count. ☺ The day he mowed the grass in mid-summer 2016 was one of the sweetest pictures I’d seen on Facebook in years—until I pulled into their driveway four days ago. This is what I saw…
We sat down for lunch with them, and Dan’s prayer was the sweetest I’ve ever heard. Praise to His Heavenly Father for the extra days he’s been given. Determination to live the days ahead for God’s purpose alone. And a fervent desire to do only that which has eternal significance. No more wasting time on busy-work or things that moth and rust destroy.
When God Gives Eternal Life
On August 27, 2012, my dad left his temporary earthly shell and embraced his eternal home with Jesus. Those aren’t just flowery words from an author’s perspective. I truly believe my daddy closed his eyes, stopped breathing, and opened his eyes in his eternal home—heaven. If you’d been there—with the rest of our 30+ family members—you’d believe it too.
My mom, brother, sister, their spouses, and lots of grandkids (and their families) had kept vigil at his bedside most of the day. I traveled from WA State to Indiana that day and arrived late in the evening. My dad, who hadn’t spoken since early in the morning, opened his eyes when I said hello. He smiled and said, “I love you.”
For the next hour or so, we sang a little, read God’s Word around his bedside, and told favorite family stories. Mom asked one of the grandsons to read Dad’s favorite Bible verse:
“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” John 10:10 (emphasis added)
Dad’s breathing became labored, then shallow, then stopped. I watched the light of life leave his eyes. Guess what time he died? 10:10pm. I’ll never forget we were reading his favorite verse (John 10:10) at the very moment he saw Jesus.
God gives life and takes it at the exact time He chooses.
Another Life Saved
Back in 2005, my eighty-six-year-old mama died twice in a week’s time while her body fought a septic infection in her bloodstream. Doctors told us she had less than a 25% chance of survival. They didn’t know my spunky little mama. ☺
Recovery was slow, but when they took her off the ventilator, she told us of her journey through the valley of the Shadow of Death. Although it had been a very real and very frightening place—until she felt the Light of His Presence walking with her.
Her strength returned slowly, and it was nearly a year before her hair grew back and she returned to normal activity.
In the eleven years since her illness, my sweet mama has performed wedding ceremonies for at least four of her grandkids and one of her great-grandkids, and she’s welcomed her first great-great-grandson into the world. She is the undeniable matriarch of our family, and her prayer cover is a powerful weapon in every one of our lives. The spiritual impact on our family—and the lives of many others—by this 5’2” spiritual giant cannot be overstated.
His Plan and Purpose for You
Life. God restores it. Sometimes completely. Sometimes partially, and sometimes not at all. God alone gives it, and He alone has the right to take it away.
There was a time in my life—before I was a Christ follower—that I considered taking my own life. I didn’t believe God had a purpose and plan for my life. All I could see was the hopelessness of my immediate future. I felt alone and unheard, defeated and hopeless.
If you have believed that Jesus’ blood on the Cross paid for your sins, you never need to feel alone or unheard, defeated or hopeless again. That doesn’t mean, however, that life will be puffy clouds and cupcakes.
Life on this earth will always be hard because will live in a broken world. But life with Jesus is filled with hope because we can look beyond now to what comes next. When we allow the indwelling Holy Spirit to give us an eternal perspective, lots of questions suddenly become easy to answer. Much of life’s temporary suffering gets swallowed up in the singular focus of God’s greater purpose. Eternal living begins now and is the secret to joy and peace in a temporal and chaotic world.
Live for Him. Live eternal.
- Life with Jesus is hopeful because we look beyond the “now” to what comes next.
- When the indwelling Spirit gives His eternal perspective, lots of questions get answered.
- Life’s temporary suffering gets swallowed up in the singular focus of God’s greater purpose.
- Is there something/someone in your life that’s drawing you away from eternally significant living? How can you reorient your life to focus more on the eternal and less on the temporal things that moth and rust destroy?