After the Last Breath

The cancer had progressed. He and physicians tried so many traditional and alternative methods to cure it. His two young daughters cheered him on as he battled, prayed, and kept on going. But as the disease accelerated, at age 39, the Lord took him home. 39? Yes, 39…….  His funeral was planned for a certain Wednesday morning. The man was loved.

The Tuesday evening before the funeral, a dear Christian friend was traveling home from dropping off his grandchildren. As he came upon an intersection, another driver ran a light causing a chain reaction which resulted in a cement truck overturning on my friend, crushing him. His heart was stopped for 19 minutes while cranes tried to lift the cement truck off my friend’s car. He was taken to a local hospital, and air lifted to a university hospital trauma center. He died the afternoon following the other man’s funeral. He was scheduled to retire in 3 weeks. The man was loved.

Another Christian friend, who was in hospice; also died later that Wednesday night. She was a fellow traveler to Israel, and we became very close. She had fought a good fight over a disease and was faithful in our church to the end. The lady was loved.

It was a time of a very heavy load. These losses came so close together. The mourning at the hospital, the decision to not resuscitate, the sounds of many prayers echoing through the halls of heaven, and the hugs of good byes as loved ones slipped out into eternity.

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 tells of the certainty of things, but uncertainty of when the things may show up. Focusing on verses 1,2, and 4, we read:

“To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven:A time to be born, and a time to die…

And a time to laugh; a time to mourn…”

Even though all these three super people previously mentioned were Christians, I will miss each one of them! Just think, there is a 100% chance that we will die. Those are astounding odds. 10 out of 10 people will die. Let’s not include the rapture at this point. But rejoicing can take place when we have been bought by His blood!

The question is, “Can I encourage people and tell them how much they mean to me after they have taken their last breath?” Of course, the answer is, “no”. So, when is the CORRECT time to tell people how much they mean to us? Of course, when they are alive. Since that Wednesday, I have been determined to tell people how much they mean to me WHILE they are still alive. I started with my immediate and extended family. Then my wife’s family. Then friends….. I have received various reactions to my calls. Some welcomed, so bewildered.

Ephesians 5 is filled with wisdom about relationships, but tells about what we do with our time.  Verse 1 says: “Therefore be imitators of God as dear children.” Verses 15 and 16 say: “See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil.”  I am ramping up my spiritual power time, my prayer time, and my relationship time. I don’t want any more time to slip through without leaving positive impressions where I go. I am going to take that journey, as well. I will take my last breath someday.

“Lord, thank You for using the Holy Spirit to show how important relationships can be between You and us and between each other. Enable me to a good imitator of You in the rest of my days. Help me redeem the precious moments You have given me in this life! Prompt me to say, “I love you” to others; In Jesus’ Name, Amen.”

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