Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Facing the Inevitable - Martin Wiles

But God said to him, “You fool! You will die this very night. Then who will get everything you worked for?” Luke 12:20 NLT

“If I had to do it over again, I would have stayed home.”

Freddie* was an elderly gentleman I’d known for a number of years. My wife and I belonged to the same church he did, and I had also served as Youth Minister and then pastor of that same church.

Six months after resigning as Freddie’s pastor, I received news he was in the hospital with liver and possibly stomach cancer. I called him several days before his surgery to let him know we would pray for him. That’s when he made the above statement.

Knowing what to say in such situations isn’t easy. I tried, “But if things don’t work out, at least you’re ready for what’s on the other side.” He quickly agreed. I never doubted Freddie loved God with his entire heart or that he’d made Jesus his Savior many years before. He lived out what he believed.

Freddie’s surgery went well. They got all the cancer, but his heart couldn’t take the trauma. He died the next day. What made Freddie’s death different was that I had dreamed two months prior to his death that he had died. Something I’d never done before. Why God showed me this in a dream, I’m not sure. I’m just glad Freddie had prepared himself to face the inevitable.

The rich fool Jesus told of hadn’t prepared. He prepared himself for life—but not for death. He thought he had many years to enjoy what he had accumulated. God clued him in that life doesn’t last that long. Death comes … sometimes … often … unexpectantly.

I remember the first funeral I officiated. I was new in the ministry and had just been called as interim of a small country church when a shut-in in the church died. I’d never met her and knew nothing about her. I called Dad, a long-time pastor. He gave me a three-point sermon I’ll never forget: life is short, death is sure, and eternity is certain.

Although we don’t enjoy thinking about it, death comes. It is inevitable—unless Jesus returns first. The only way to prepare for it is by trusting in what Jesus has done on Calvary’s cross: paid for humanity’s sins. Once I place my faith in Him, I can face death as Freddie did: with wide-open eyes, with anticipation, and with joy.

Don’t let the inevitable take you by surprise.

*Name changed to protect privacy.

Prayer: Father, help us live each day, prepared for the inevitability of eternity.

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