I came home from the hospital yesterday, where I’ll be living out the rest of my life in the reality that I’m only one heartbeat away from eternity. Although personally obligated to live so, by my recent cardiac arrest and diagnosed cardiovascular disease, isn’t this really how every Christian ought to live anyway? I guess the difference between me now and formerly is that I’ve always believed it, but now I know it. It is my present certainty of it over and above my past conviction of it that constrains me now to practice it; that is, to live every moment as though it were my last, for it may very well be!
While in the hospital, a dear friend brought me a book of his grandfather’s. The book was published in 1886 and compiled of a series of sermons preached by a preacher named George F. Pentecost. I read the whole book in my hospital bed in a couple of nights. Pentecost’s sermons were on the importance of keeping ourselves in the love of God (Jude 1:21). He carefully, methodically and scripturally points out that this does not mean concentrating on our love for Christ, but on Christ’s love for us, which will naturally result in our love for Christ and our obedience to Him. Again, this is a truth I’ve long known and taught; however, it’s now a truth that I’m constrained by God, through recent life changing events, to daily practice each and every moment of the rest of my life.
The Bible teaches us to be thankful for all things, as well as in everything (Ephesians 5: 20; 1 Thessalonians 5:18). As I prayed last night, thinking about and thanking God for all that has happened to me, I told Him I wouldn’t change a thing about these recent difficult days of my life, since He has used them to turn long believed doctrines into spiritual realities! With the Psalmist, I praisingly proclaimed to God, “It is good for me that I have been afflicted, that I might learn thy statues” (Psalm 119:71)