"You Never Know"
August 26, 2008
For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. 2 Timothy 4:6
As a parish pastor, I have seen many amazing things while I was making hospital calls.
I remember watching a loving wife give permission to her husband who was sick and dying from cancer to go home to Jesus. He took one more breath and then fell asleep in the Lord.
I've also heard doctors tell people, "There is no hope. Medicine is helpless. You need to put your affairs in order because death is coming."
Some of those folks, 30 years later, are still going strong.
Even the doctors say, "It's a miracle."
According to a survey reported last week by MSNBC, the people of America agree. Fifty-seven percent of us said God's intervention could save a family member even if ongoing or prolonged treatment seemed ineffective.
In short, the Lord can perform miracles if that is His will and wish.
Of course, as a Christian who has already been saved from eternal death by the Savior's life, suffering, death, and resurrection, you knew that already, didn't you?
On the other hand, we need to remember temporal death still awaits us.
David knew his end would come some day. That's why he wrote about how he would fear no evil when it was his time to walk through the valley of the shadow of death (Psalm 23).
Paul knew death was coming when he wrote to Timothy about his time of departure.
The amazing thing is, because of their faith, these heroes of Scripture were ready to be called home to their Lord.
They didn't consider heaven a bad thing, nor did they think death as an event to be feared and avoided.
This is-considering the way the rest of humanity feels about death-a minor miracle.
Removing the fear of death from His followers is something Jesus does on a regular basis. He did it for the king and the apostle; He can do it for you.
Understand, I'm not encouraging you to rush up and embrace death. I am saying each of us should, like Paul, be ready for our time of departure.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord Jesus I don't know when I will be walking through the valley of the shadow of death, but I rejoice that because of Your resurrection, I will not be alone. You will be with me. Accept my thanks for this miracle that Your sacrifice has brought about in my life. In Your Name. Amen.
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries