Last week our friend seemed fine with just a little coughing. The day before yesterday she experienced difficulty in breathing. Yesterday morning, her husband reported a diagnosis of lung cancer. This morning her husband reported her untimely death and that plans were underway for a funeral.
This news brings tears of grief in the shocking loss of our dear friend. Many of her friends are going through the same grief. The grief experienced by her husband and children is exponential.
Why do I write this? The unexpected loss of a friend brings many other problems and frustrations into fresh perspective. The challenges I face are small in comparison to losing one who we love dearly. Death can occur at a moment’s notice, perhaps when we least expect it.
Serious questions arise at a time like this. Am I ready? Are you ready? Is there a God? Does the Bible speak into this sort of situation? One thing I know for sure: it will not be me who convinces anyone that a personal God exists; it will not be me who proves that the Bible offers hope at a time like this; it will not be me that gives relevant answers for today’s serious challenges.
The best I can do is to encourage people around me to seriously consider the above questions. The best I can do is to challenge a person to do what I did when my life was a wreck – I read the entire Bible in order to prove it wrong and worthless. The best I can do is to offer a very brief picture of the Bible’s message expressed in historical narrative, poetry, symbolization, etc.
- God created everything, including the people He wants to have a loving relationship with.
- The first people rebelled and received the penalty of certain death (separation from God).
- God provided a substitute to pay that penalty; His name is Jesus Christ.
- Anyone who receives this provision has the hope of living with God forever.
All this begs more questions, of course. One last “best I can do” is to be available to help someone get answers to those questions and, perhaps, discover that, though physical death is real and can be sudden, it does not have the last word.
Jean and I have no immediate plans to die or to move from our neighborhood. But, something happened a couple weeks ago that reminded us that we will eventually face these realities. I jotted the enclosed note to myself and am sharing it with you and a few other special friends and neighbors.