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.