Sunday, March 18, 2012
A Reason to Live
This year has brought on so many news I wish I didn't have to hear.
Three close friends passed on one after another, and three more close friends have fallen into life-threatening illnesses. My prayer time has never been more fervent; my prayer for grace has never been more urgent.
Grace found me in a devotional I wrote two years ago with the same title—Grace Found Me. I was leafing through the book, which I intended to give as a gift to a friend, when this page spoke to me:
Reason for Living
During my childhood, my uncle Astring told many stories of World War II. He would entertain us, nieces and nephews, complete with big gestures and sound effects, about how he had been tortured by the enemy, and how he had escaped death many times.
"But God was with me and never left my side. We marched side by side to Bataan," he would say of the death march, which was the highlight of his war tales.
As we grew up, his faith in God never wavered. When he reached his late seventies and felt the symptoms of aging, he kept saying, "I long to go home. Jesus is waiting for me."
His children and we would shush him up saying, there is still so much to live for.
"I am homesick. I want to be in that beautiful place where Jesus lives with your Auntie Felicing (his wife), Nanang and Tatang (his parents) and . . . " he would name all the people in the clan who had passed on.
Uncle Astring was one of the few remarkable people I have met who joyfully anticipated dying.
Paul, in his letter to the Philippians, had the same attitude about death. He said that the wonderful hope of dying kept him alive. (Philippians 1:21) “For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.”
The hope of seeing Jesus gave meaning to every moment of Paul's and my Uncle Astring's life.
So many of us are afraid of dying. When we face a grave illness, we say with much dread, "I don't think I am ready to die yet." How much better if we look at dying in the way Paul and my Uncle Astring did!
(Father, thank You for giving mankind the opportunity to be with You for eternity. Help me look at dying the way the apostle Paul did.)