Nightmares Do Come True
Last Thursday my life changed forever.
At 3:00pm I kissed my wife goodbye as she left to pick up our daughter from school with our 3 year old son in tow.
At 3:30pm my wife suddenly lost her vision, began to lose consciousness, and swerved across two lanes of traffic, nearly colliding with a car. She’d suffered a stroke.
By 7:00pm I stood shocked as I watched the Flight for Life EMT’s loaded my wife into the helicopter, covered in IV’s and monitors.
We all like to think, “I have some control over when I die.”
No you don’t. Not ever. And if you believe you do, it’s a lie.
Talking the Talk
Over the last few months since I started Epochalypsis.org, I have really been focusing on the subject of fear vs. faith (check out the “Walking the Way of Christ” posts).
Long ago, I personally identified fear as the main root of all the evils in this world of ours.
- Why are we greedy? For fear that what we have will end, or won’t be enough.
- Why do we hurt others? For fear that they will hurt us or have something we need.
- Why do we hesitate to help others? For fear they will let us down and disappoint us.
- Why do we not strive? For fear we will fail.
- Why do we not live like Christ lived, and died? Because deep down we’re all afraid God is full of shit.
So we hedge our bets.
We say we’re kind and generous, and give only when others are looking or when it’s tax deductible . Worse yet, when it profits us like despicable predatory “micro-loans for the poor” schemes like Kiva.org (36% interest, anyone?).
We say we’re green, so we recycle a can or a bottle and climb into our sports-car or SUV.
We say we’re compassionate and loving, and then stand idly by as our country wages wars across the globe in our name, for our greed.
Most disturbingly, we Americans say we have faith (80% Christian) that we believe in Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior, and that He through his sacrifice upon the cross for our sins we are redeemed and reconciled to God and will be welcomed into the Life Everlasting in Heaven…
…and then we spend more money on end of life care than any other nation in the world. Why be so afraid of death that you double mortgage the house to prevent the inevitable? Has the Life Everlasting lost its charm, somehow? Or is it we never really believed in the first place?
There is no place for fear in faith. And we are failing miserably.
Walking the Walk
My wife is beautiful. She is young and vibrant and talented. Everyone loves her. People love having her around. It’s almost like they need her in their lives.
I’m no different. I need her. She’s a light in my darkness. She taught me how to love selflessly. She gave me my two perfect children. She has become part of me. And I don’t know how I would ever live without her.
Last Thursday night I was faced with the possibility of that very reality. The woman who embodies everything good and hopeful in this world for me might die.
And when moments came that I found myself alone and the tears would come, I was amazed to find that the emotions that poured out of me as my body was wracked with sobs weren’t fear or anger… but overwhelming gratitude, love and thankfulness to God that I had been so blessed. Blessed that so undeserving a man could be loved by such an amazing soul. Blessed that I had experienced so much happiness and contentment in our life together. Blessed that she had taught me the true meaning of grace: God’s unmerited favor.
Fear was not part of it. I did not cry because I was afraid of the future. I did not cry because I was afraid I would never see her again. I did not cry because I was angry at God.
Why wasn’t I afraid? Because I have faith. I have faith that God is true, and that our at-one-ment with God in heaven is a reality, and that my wife would be fine if she died.
I have faith that GOD ACTS, and that those actions may be severe and sudden, but never malicious. The reasons why may not be clear at this moment, but GOD ACTS in ways we could never fathom, with consequences and ramifications both subtle and far-reaching that it is usually only in the span of lifetimes that we can begin to see God’s purpose. I knew if I lost my wife that night, that the purpose would not be clear then, perhaps ever, but that did not mean God was acting maliciously. There is always room for hope, even in the countenance of your darkest fears.
However, I did not lose my wife. The doctors saved her and she is expected to fully recover. But even this early, we are not mystified as to what God’s purpose was.
This is our wake-up call. This is our time to start living as Christ would live, a second chance to embody a life devoid of fear, unhindered by excuses and empowered by God’s unmerited favor.
A life unshackled from the lie that we can control when we die.
So we will live fearlessly: in Christ, in faith, and in love.