Monday, September 25, 2006

i'm going to die...

Last night I spent 3.5 hours in the Emergency Room at the hospital here in Pontiac. At about 5:20pm, my wife and two kids and I went for a walk. We stopped at a friend's house to say hi. After eating a fresh apple off of her tree we headed for home.

About 5:45pm, we were almost home and I felt a pain in my chest. When we got home it was still there and had moved through my chest to my back. It wasn't severe, but I was alarmed. As I was lying down on my bed for a moment, I was remembering the funeral I did a couple of years ago for a 30-year-old man who had dropped dead while playing ice hockey with some friends. I remember the shock and pain in the eyes of his wife and two little children.

I called my brother the medical doctor to get his advice. He said it could be heartburn or gas, but that there was no way to be sure without going to the doctor. After a few minutes, I decided to go to the E.R. We called a friend of ours who dropped everything and came over to stay with our kids for the next 3.5 hours.

As my wife was driving me to the hospital, I was thinking about a number of things. I thought, if I'm having a heart attack what do I need to say to her right now? If I died I know the words said in the next few minutes would be remembered for years. I told her that if anything happened to me I wanted her to tell the kids how much I loved them and how proud I am of them. I told her I loved her and that I was so thankful she was my wife.

As we were driving, it also occurred to me that I could die right now. I could pass from this life to the next at this moment. I was questioning myself, Am I confident that I am going to be with be with Jesus? I felt comfort and even a little bit of excitement at the thought. I did trust Jesus for my salvation.

The Emergency Room was very busy. After a wait, I got my first EKG and chest X-Ray. The doctor came in and told me that my heart was OK, that the pain I was experiencing was the result of bruising that occurred during my bout with Bronchitis a few weeks earlier.

Upon returning home, I had immense feelings of love for my lovely children and my wonderful wife. I had incredible gratitude for the friendship of the woman who stayed with our children on the spot. I was also thankful for the calm and caring attitudes of the nurses and doctors at the hospital in Pontiac. I also realize how incredibly blessed to have not only the world's greatest big brother, but also a big brother who can give me free medical advice at the drop of a hat.

The strongest impression that this experience left with me is this: I am going to die. Whether it be today or 50 years from now, it will happen. I will be a name written on a tiny tombstone in some graveyard.

You are going to die too. In America we live in denial of death. It's coming. After death we'll either go to heaven or hell, either to be with Jesus or to be apart from Jesus. If you were to die this moment, would you go to be with Jesus for eternity or to be apart from Jesus for eternity?

Why did you answer the above question the way you did? If you say, I would go to be with Jesus because I've been a pretty good person, you probably wouldn't go to heaven. If you say, I would go to be with Jesus because although I'm a wrecked sinner he died for my sins, you have a firm grasp on your condition and God's grace.

If you're not sure you would go to be with Jesus if you were to die right now, take a moment and consider your sinfulness. Then believe that Jesus died for your sins and was raised from the dead, proving himself to be God and the Giver of Life. Ask him to forgive you of your sins and send the Holy Spirit to dwell in your heart. Do it today. I'm going to die and so are you.

20 comments:

Holy Pirate said...

Amen.

JD said...

I think God gives us those experiences at least once in our lives to get us to think about the end. Scary, but effective. Mine was my wife almost dying when she had seizures while pregnant with our daughter. She went status (did not stop seizing). It did not really hit me until the doctor asked, if need be, could they intebate.

My wife and daughter are fine and my wife has been seizure free for 2 years, but riding behind the ambulance on the way to the hospital, not sure if your wife or daughter will make it, makes you think about what is important.

PAX
JD

Jason Woolever said...

whew. that'll do it, for sure.

Keith Taylor said...

Jason,

I saw a great Biblical parallel in your story.

You picked an apple and ate it. A short while later you then came the realization that you were ill (of some sorts) and you were going to die.

Sounds familiar to me. :-)

BigDoo said...

What a great life leason jason, most of us will never know the day that the Lord will call us home, so insuring that our loved ones know how much we care is huge. You have been an igniter in my spiritual light that is helping me win in the daily battle of my dark mind jason,it would of been sad to of missed the opportunity to tell you that it's been an honor. Rock on Dude.

Jason Woolever said...

hey Doo. Thanks man.

Jason Woolever said...

keith, frightfully similar, i will agree!

Neil said...

Great story and example! I had something similar happen, though not quite as dramatic. I woke up with muscle cramps that just happened to be over my heart, and I went through the same type of thought process.

Good news: I was ready and didn't fear death. But it did give me an additional appreciation for my wife and kids and an increased sense of urgency to live out my faith while I have time in this version of earth.

More good news: If you want to get to the front of the line at the emergency room, just tell them you have chest pains! Works every time :-).

bandlady said...

I'm glad you're going to be around a little while longer, Jason. Believe me, your friends and your church family would miss you, too.

I always have fun with your kids, so coming over that night was NOT an inconvience, but a pleasure. (Well, it would have been a pleasure if you and your wife were out on a date instead of at the ER.)

Thank you for reminding me that I'M gonna die, my FAMILY members are gonna die, and all my FRIENDS are gonna die some day. I need to step up the effort to share the victory of Jesus before it's too late.

Jason Woolever said...

Neil, you're right about the chest pain thing. Unfortunately, after they initially examined me, they booted me back out to the waiting room. They were so full that they then set up a bed in the hallway. There were no rooms left in ER! So I got an EKG in the hallway of the ER. I was fortunate that I didn't have to strip down completely, just take off my shirt.

Jason Woolever said...

Bandlady, Thank you for your kindness to us! This morning my son said, "I had fun with that girl last night... and I ate a lot of animal crackers last night too."
Thanks again!

bandlady said...

Yeah, I'm an old softy when it comes to stuffing yourself silly with animal crackers. I have them in large supply at my house and Lisa always gets her fill when she visits me. I'm glad Landry had a good time. He and Marlee are always a blast to be with!

Joel Thomas said...

Great post, and a big hallelujah!

Jason Woolever said...

thanks Joel!

di dooley said...

glad you are still with us! we would have missed you. just to let you know, when you have your next "near death" experience, di doo is always available when bandlady isn't. :o)

Jason Woolever said...

thanks Di Doo! We've got your number handy!

Mark Winter said...

Jason,

Wow, just read your post and was very moved by it. In 1984, on the night before Thanksgiving, my heart started beating irregularly and I hyperventilated, thinking I was having a heart attack. No one was home, but I finally had the presence of mind to call the paramedics and they came right out. It was benign arrhythmia, but I was in the hospital for a full day as they monitored me. It was scary.

Nothing like one of these experiences to put everything in perspective, recharge your gratitude and make sure your life is in order to meet God with "clean hands and a pure heart."

Jason Woolever said...

Yeah, I need to get my perspective cleansed every now and then. What you experienced in 84 would do that!

Anonymous said...

Jason,

I'm glad you are better.

John Flores
Friso, Texas

Jason Woolever said...

Hey thanks John!