My wife and I met during our college years at George Mason University. Tomorrow’s first round game brings back vivid memories from 2006. Our Cinderella run was truly one for the history books. With no football team, we Mason alumni relished the national spotlight in the Final Four. However for our family the euphoria of following the Patriots was tinged with sorrow, for it was during that time we watched my wife’s father succumb to cancer. After feeling “off” for months, Charles was finally diagnosed with acute leukemia. From the day the diagnosis was made, we had six short weeks to say good-bye.
Watching him suffer in his last days was heart wrenching. But even in his pain, something was different. Conscious of his own mortality, Charles was wrestling with eternity. And he was changing from the inside out. In a moment that for us will stand in infamy, he summoned an answer to one simple question: I know I’m dying - what do I do now [with Christ]? He had avoided and spurned this question for many years. No doubt dissuaded by the bitterness of his own life, this was only compounded by the hypocrisy he saw in those claiming to follow Christ. As he pondered the brevity of his own life and the vastness of eternity, it was time for him to settle with his Creator. And settle he did.
The Scriptures speak so eloquently to this: For God so loved the world, He gave His one and only Son, and whoever believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life. We have a problem, and Christ is the solution. The problem is dire, but in its place we can receive eternal life. Neither Christ nor eternity can be ignored.
With a whole lot of respect for the different paths we have all taken in life, I humbly ask this question: are you prepared for eternity? That is, are you prepared to meet God? Perhaps you will live into your nineties, but the reality is, we’re not guaranteed a single day. Ask the Japanese. The question is not if, but when. All of Scripture is designed to point us to a single focus, summed up by the prophet Amos: Prepare to meet your God. From dust we were made and to dust we will return. No exceptions.
Five years have passed and Charles’s three daughters aren’t missing him any less. But their sorrow is mixed with authentic joy: they know their dad is with Christ, and they will see him again. My wife will tell you that the Patriots’ appearance in the Final Four was pretty cool. But the assurance of her father’s presence in heaven is priceless.
Life is short. What will you do with Christ?
- Pastor Colin