In silly, juvenile moments, when some thrilling little disaster seems imminent, like tipping over the highest peak of a roller coaster, we scream with glee, “Haaalp, we’re all gonna die.” Of course it’s a stupid thing to say, but during such events, we’re not looking for well-reasoned responses.
The truth? We are all going to die.
LIFE, God-breathed life is a divine mystery. It can be miserable, nearly intolerable, with no observable value, and yet we cling to it with all our diminishing might.
LIFE, God-infused life can be glorious, a wonder of Son-washed glory, and yet we take it for granted, fully expecting it to go on indefinitely. We waste precious hours doing no one any good.
One phrase in our wedding song was something to the effect that at the end of our lives we would go together still. I love that idea and for years I prayed my husband and I would go to Heaven at the same time.
We were in the ER at Memorial Hospital in Savannah, Georgia. Himself was having an emergency angiogram and I was waiting in the room designated for just that—waiting. I’d been told the process would take a half hour or forty-five minutes. I waited.
On the other side of the small room a woman about my age engaged me in conversation. She was quite familiar with angiograms and heart-related issues. We agreed open-heart surgery was a wonderful, life-saving procedure, but men often exhibit changes in personality afterward. I asked her how her husband was doing now, and she cheered me up with the flat statement, “He died.”
Forty-five minutes went by, then an hour. I reminded the Lord I had asked for us to go to Heaven at the same time. Immediately I sensed His rebuke. Psalm 31:15 popped up in my mind. “My times are in your hands.” I felt as though He was saying, “The length of your days is MY business. You don’t get a vote.”
Another half-hour passed during which I contemplated what I would do if Himself died during the angiogram. I could not imagine driving the 1300 miles home with his body in the car, having to cross state lines and all. Our intention is for us to be cremated, so I would arrange for that in Savannah. Or is there a law about having cremains in your car?
I would just have to call our son to fly out and drive our car back.
Just then a solemn-looking fellow in a suit, surely a Chaplain, came down the hall. Here we go, I thought.
He went on by without glancing in my direction.
That which I greatly feared did not come upon me. Himself was fine and life went on, but I have a new understanding about my final days. It’s HIS business and He has done well by me for a lot of years. Psalm 31 again. I will trust in you, Lord.
It’s too late for either of us to die young or tragically. Naturally I would prefer to shuffle off this mortal coil with a certain amount of grace and dignity, but I can’t depend on it. Mostly I’d like to go before it’s a relief to anyone, but I don’t have a choice there, either.
I do know where I’m going, and I know who will lead me there. “All the way my Savior leads me; what have I to ask beside?”