For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:38-39
This past week CNN.com ran a story about Oscar, a cat in Providence, Rhode Island, who seems to have the ability to predict death. The 2-year-old feline makes the rounds on the third floor of the Steer House Nursing and Rehabilitation Center. While not normally a friendly feline, Oscar appears to have predicted a person’s death in twenty-five confirmed cases by curling up next to that individual.
Without exception, the patient has passed away in the next four hours.
Now, if that sounds overly morbid it needs to be stated that most of Oscar’s patients are so ill they don’t notice his deathly visit. On the other hand, the nursing home appreciates Oscar for giving them the time to notify the patient’s family and give them the chance to say ‘goodbye’ to their loved ones.
Personally, I have not formed an opinion on whether I want a cat to serve as my exit-from-this-world countdown clock. On the other hand, I do know I want the Savior by my side. Scripture tells us that death is an enemy who haunts humanity, stalking us throughout our lives. Death rips apart families. It takes our children. It creeps up on us and steals away spouses and best friends.
Death can come without any advance notice, or it can lay down by our side with its presence heralded by a cat named “Oscar.”
Now, there may well be those who appreciate the services of an Oscar. There may be those who enjoy being given time to get their affairs in order. There may even be those who want Oscar to give them enough warning to mend some fences and make some apologies before the end.
But here’s the point and the problem: death is not the end. Death is only the portal that leads everyone to his or her final judgment. And because we are serious sinners, without Christ the result of that judgment was not going to be pleasant. In order that the end, which comes after our earthly end, might be different, God sent His Son into this world to live and die for us.
All of which is my way of saying that when death comes around, I’d far rather prefer to have the Savior by my side than Oscar. I pray you agree.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord Jesus, I give thanks that Your life, death, and resurrection have defeated death. May I always place my trust in You who alone can save me. In Your Name, Amen.
While I was at the International LLL Convention, this devotion was prepared by Pastor Matthew Conrad of Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Gretna, NE and Pastor Kurt Klaus of Child of God Lutheran Church in Saint Peters, MO.
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