Friday, October 24, 2008

It's Friday. I'm Learning to Let Go.

It's Friday.

This morning, my wife woke me up, gave me my first morning morphine cocktail and a mug of hot coffee. I sat up, opened my Bible, and looked at several passages, mostly from the Psalms, regarding death and the brevity of life.

Before sharing some of what I gleaned, I would like to let you know that I am not certain, from day to day, how long I will be able to continue posting on this blog. I am told that my cognitive abilities will wane and that I may start getting strange thoughts in my head. For this reason, I have asked my wife to read all my entries before I post them.

At some point, I will have to let go of this blog. As I have had to let go of other things - like teaching and serving as an assistant pastor alongside one of the finest men I have ever known. But letting go of things is part of this whole process of dying. It is part of a mixed blessing. I have this time to enjoy with family and friends, to reminisce, to say goodbye, to help my wife make plans, etc. But, at the same time, I have to endure the pain of letting things go.

But as I learn to let things go, I think about what I will gain - as I let go of this world and step into the presence of my Savior, Jesus Christ. I have difficulty imagining what it will be like.

Last night, my daughter and I talked about the blog. She is thinking about keeping up with it as long as I am alive. She is praying about it. And if that is what she would like to do, I will support her is doing it. caption.

From there, as I have mentioned, the words I have written are in the hands of God and a bright young lady who is willing to follow God's leading in telling this story to others. My prayer is that God is glorified and that others find there is hope in Jesus Christ.

In Psalm 39, David reflects on the brevity of life, asking God to give him a proper perspective: to know my end and what is the measure of my days (verse 4). He compares the span of his life to handbreadths (very small measures), nothing before You (in comparison to God), and a vapor (vanity, meaningless). A proper perspective on the brevity of life leads way to his reflection on hope (in God), the providence of God over his life and circumstances, and a call for relief from his present pain and suffering.

As I read this psalm, I had a sense of gratitude because God has given and is still giving me a better pespective on the brevity of life and how important it is to use the time we are given to fulfill the purpose(s) that He has laid our for us. Like David, I have hope. My hope is found in Jesus Christ. My hope is tied to heaven, where He prepares a place for me. Like David, I know that God has planned out my life and circumstances for His glory. And I know that in these final days, I can run to Him for relief from my pain and sufferings. And even though the pain and suffering may not wane, He is present with me, helping me to endure. Helping me to understand that it is momentary. Reminding me, as He has so many times before, that my pain pales in comparison to that suffered by Jesus Christ on my behalf. Because He took on the pain meant for me at Calvary, one day soon all my pain will be gone.

In Psalm 90:12, Moses wrote: So teach us to number our days, that we might gain a heart of wisdom. This verse reminds us again of the importance of using our time wisely. Having a heart of wisdom, according to John MacArthur, involves taking our focus off of ourselves and putting it in God's sovereignty. Knowing that God is in control of our lives brings great comfort. And great freedom. We are free to live for Him.

From my personal experience in the past few weeks, I have been given a better understanding of this verse. Being conscious of the need - having the desire - to focus on God and on others - has been incredibly freeing for me. And, I would imagine, good preparation for being in the presence of Jesus Christ, where all eyes, all thoughts will be focused on Him.

In Psalm 90:17, he wrote: And let the beauty of the LORD our God be upon us, and establish the work of our hands for us, yes, establish the work of our hands.

I am not sure that I really ever reflected on this verse of Scripture before. But it certainly caught my eye this morning. When Moses speaks of beauty here, he speaks of God's delight, His approval and His favor. He asks that these things be upon us as we go about doing the work that He has established for us. He asks that our lives have value, significance, and meaning - by God's grace and mercy.

I am thankful that, by God's grace, my life has had meaning - not because of anything I have done, but because God created me and redeemed me and used me.

In Ecclesiastes 9:10, I read: Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might; for there is no work or device or knowledge or wisdom in the grave where you are going.

Enough said. Get busy.

In Psalm 116:15, I read: Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of His saints.

I have no fear in dying. The God that created me, redeemed me, sustained me, and provided for me throughout this life in earth will be with me in death. He will see me safely into the presence of Jesus Christ.

Psalm 23 is a familiar Psalm. So familiar, that it is sometimes easy to skip over. This morning, I read verse 4 carefully: Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for Thou art with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.

Again, I am reminded that I have nothing to fear. God's protection is upon me. He will give me direction. He will provide of my every need - and He will provide for every need of my family when I am gone.

As I face these final days, my thoughts are focused on . . .

telling family and friends how much I love them and how much they mean to me.

not overlooking the importance of just being together.

how God has already provided for my absence.

encouraging others to live for Christ in light of the brevity of life.

helping others to see Jesus.

I cannot persuade anyone of the truth of Jesus Christ. That is a work of the Holy Spirit. I can simply share what the Bible says about Him and what I know to be true about Him and His work in my life. Beyond that, all I can do is live my life in a way that allows others to see Jesus in me.


Totally Me said...

Please don't stop the blog. I know you don't know me and I don't know you but through this blog, I have gotten to know you and you have helped more than you can imagine. My mother-in-law was just diagnosed with Stage 4 Lobular Breast Cancer and it has spread to her pancreas, stomach, intestines, and gall bladder. We are now just beginning our journey. Your words and the courage that you have are helping me in ways that I can not even explain. Please, don't stop! (We live in Chattanooga, TN.) Thanks so much and I pray for you and your family often

Anonymous said...

I have been following your blog ever since I saw your article in The Wayne Independent. It has become a part of my life. I find myself checking your blog for a new post several times throughout every day. When I don't find a new post, I fear the worst. Then when I do find one, I feel joy that you are able to spend another day with the people you love. Your blog has helped me in so many ways. I hope if I ever have to face what you are facing, that I will handle it the same way as you are. You are so brave, I know that you will be okay, but I feel for your family when you are gone. I pray for their strength to get through it and beyond. I hope you will continue this blog as long as possible and it would be wonderful if your daughter would pick up from there. I know I am not alone when I say that I would love to be able to remain a part of you and your family's life through this blog. I always think about your Mom. She is such a sweet person. I pray for her strength also, as nothing in life could be worse than losing a child. God bless you all.

Gary Miller said...

I don’t know what to say about the points you raised. I have undergone Family Blessings a lot of times now, so I guess I couldn’t put in a negative word or two. I do like how you got your views across. Good luck to you.