Left behind

I recently received word that a friend and supporter of our ministry had died following a brief respite in hospice for brain cancer.

Slightly older than me, he had already lived years longer than the weeks, maybe months, doctors had given him. And while clean brain scans for much of that time gave him an appreciation for life that few of us will ever have, he used that period to tell people about the peace God had given him no matter what the outcome.

In short, his suffering and the joy he somehow had from it made him one of the greatest sources of salt and light one could offer.

And while friends and family will mourn his death, it’s not really his death we will mourn but rather our loss at not seeing him that makes us suffer.

Married now more than 20 years to my beautiful wife, it’s inevitable that one day God will call us home to heaven. It’s less likely that call will be to both of us at the same time, and so one of us will be left behind while the other is resting with Jesus.

At the moment, far away from my wife because of the overseas teaching I do, I know she awaits my return, and I cannot wait to be home again in her arms.

And yet, some day, one of us will be alone, to crawl in bed without the hope that the other will join us.

What I mean to say is that I cannot imagine that moment, don’t want to imagine that moment… let alone experience it.

I think of how precious my time with my wife has been but also must honestly acknowledge that I have not always appreciated it for all that it has and should have been.

To quote John Lennon, life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans— and in that planning of how to spend a life together, before you know it, much of it is behind you.

I say this not only in relation to death, but also in relation to the raising of children. They do grow up fast and at some point, no matter how many you have, eventually, you’ll stop having them while turning to a different season in life, wondering where that time has gone.

It’s moments like these that draw a person’s awareness to how much time we waste doing and worrying about useless things, and yet, weeks out from such epiphanies, we will again be back at it.

The Bible calls us to find joy in all moments (Philippians 4:4), and while I do not do that as well as I should, I’m trying to find a way to be more grateful and aware of all that God has given me.

It can be a struggle, yet we must try, counting on God to pull us through should we so desire it of Him. We will appreciate the blessings of our family more, and as we are called to do, we will show others what it means to truly live a life in Christ, having learned to “be content in whatever circumstances I am.” (Philippians 4:11).