Trying to remember what happened before the surgery, I remember walking into that surgical suite and saying, oh I've seen this on tv before, lying down on the little gurney and having the nurse tuck my left arm into a blanket, and next thing I'm waking up in another room sitting in a chair. In a flash, two hours had passed and I had no knowledge of it. Two hours! It was so strange, one moment I had just gotten settled on that gurney and the next thing I know they are bringing Jim in to help me get up and go home.
When I first got saved in the 80's, everyone was saying Jesus is coming back soon. Like, any moment now He will be here and we will go to be with Him. So you lived your life awaiting that moment and time was wasted. I know people who didn't go to the doctor because they thought, well Jesus is coming anyway, why bother. Hey Jesus is coming, I don't need to get anything done, here on this earth or for the kingdom, why waste my time. I remember having a dream of all these people sitting in lawn chairs just looking at the sky. Like hey come on, get here already. And that is all they did, sit and watch. And being a new Christian, unlearned in the word, I acted that same way. And yes, Jesus' coming is closer today than any other time in history, but there are still things to be done, there is still life to be lived; in Him and through Him and for Him.
I don't know if I will experience that second coming here, or if I will have already passed to be with Him in heaven. All I know is the day will come when all that is in this world will no longer seem to be only pain and suffering. Our bodies will no longer hurt. Our hearts will no longer be broken. Our minds will no longer be confused and tormented. As it says in 1 Corinthians 15:52, "But let me tell you something wonderful, a mystery I’ll probably never fully understand. We’re not all going to die—but we are all going to be changed. You hear a blast to end all blasts from a trumpet, and in the time that you look up and blink your eyes—it’s over. On signal from that trumpet from heaven, the dead will be up and out of their graves, beyond the reach of death, never to die again. At the same moment and in the same way, we’ll all be changed." (MSG) How beautiful that will be.
I had the honor of being with both my dad and my mom when they passed away. Or more truly, when they entered in; entered into the presence of their heavenly Father. Into the presence of their Lord and Saviour, Jesus. I was there when they metaphorically lay on that gurney and then woke up again in a more glorious home. I still weep when I think of them leaving pain and death behind and becoming truly awake for the very first time. I remember so clearly hearing the Holy Spirit tell me to run and get a certain cd out of my truck and play it for my dad. That soon he would be singing that song along with the angels in heaven. Holy, holy, holy. I put that cd in and my dad, who had not moved in days lifted his arms and was gone. In the twinkling of an eye. He was home.
As scripture says, our life is but a vapor. A mist that is one moment there, the next burned off by the heat of the sun. And yes, there is sickness and misery, hurt and anguish. There is struggle and conflict and doubt and fear. That is all part of life. But He overcame all that for us. He gives us peace in the midst of all that. He gives us hope when all looks hopeless. He gives us joy when all seems black.
My whole life I have been a worry wart. I don't know if it was my upbringing and the uncertainty that came with it. Maybe that's just how I was made, but I always seem to worry about everything. But when push comes to shove, I know who is in control. I know that my Father has all in hand and I can rest. I never really had any fear when I first went to the doctor. I was in pain, sure, but I honestly knew that the worst that could happen would be I'd be going home. I would shuffle off this mortal coil as Shakespeare so eloquently wrote. I would leave behind the troubles of this daily life and awake with Jesus taking my hand and leading me into my new home.
That being said, there is work to be done here, now. The hope I have, the peace I have others need also. The salvation I celebrate, the joy I have in knowing my heavenly Father loves me is something I don't want to take to the grave with me. I want to expend all of that. I want to share it freely and with abandon. I want to love fully and give everything I have knowing it pleases my Father.
You may feel you are in a prison today. Whether it is physical or financial or mental or emotional. You may feel trapped and locked in an endless repeat of the day before. You may feel that nothing you do matters and nothing can change. That is a lie from the enemy. Everything you do matters and all that has to change is your attitude. Take a lesson from Paul when he wrote to the Philippians while imprisoned. Read what he writes in Philippians 1:18-21 (MSG), "So how am I to respond? I’ve decided that I really don’t care about their motives, whether mixed, bad, or indifferent. Every time one of them opens his mouth, Christ is proclaimed, so I just cheer them on! And I’m going to keep that celebration going because I know how it’s going to turn out. Through your faithful prayers and the generous response of the Spirit of Jesus Christ, everything he wants to do in and through me will be done. I can hardly wait to continue on my course. I don’t expect to be embarrassed in the least. On the contrary, everything happening to me in this jail only serves to make Christ more accurately known, regardless of whether I live or die. They didn’t shut me up; they gave me a pulpit! Alive, I’m Christ’s messenger; dead, I’m his bounty. Life versus even more life! I can’t lose."
Dear friend, you can't lose. And one day, in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye you will look into the face of the One who gave all for you and that is all that will matter.