"A New Lease"
May 30, 2013
If a man dies, shall he live again? ... Job 14:14a ~ Nicodemus said to him, "How can a man be born when he is old? ..." John 3:4a
The questions of both Job and Nicodemus are probably rhetorical; that is, they didn't really expect to receive an answer.
They didn't expect an answer because the answer to both questions is obvious: if you're dead, you're not going to live again -- at least not in this world. If you're old, it's impossible for you to be physically reborn.
Even so, 34-year-old Brighton Dama Zanthe of Gweru, Zimbabwe, may not think those questions are all that rhetorical. Let me share a bit of his story. Zanthe had been sick for a long time. Eventually, the time came when he "shuffled off this mortal coil." The coroner was called, and he was declared dead.
His mourning family made the necessary funeral arrangements.
Zanthe's funeral was all perfectly normal, until some of the folks at the service noticed his legs were still twitching. The funeral was instantly stopped, and Zanthe was rushed to Gweru Provincial Hospital where a skilled medical team, not surprisingly, overturned the coroner's report.
In an interview with the local papers, Zanthe claims he can only remember being sick at home and then waking up in the hospital. Regretfully, he doesn't recall any of the fine and complimentary things the people said at his funeral.
Looking back at what has happened, Zanthe says, "I was given another chance, and now I am alive."
Now I have to confess, Zanthe wasn't totally and completely dead as Job talked about ... and he really wasn't born again the way Nicodemus meant. Still, Zanthe's "almost death" and "almost re-birth" is just about as close to a second lease on life as any of us are likely to get.
Although the article doesn't say so, I would imagine Zanthe will be seeing and living his life in a different way. By that I mean some of the things that once seemed important are now inconsequential, and that which was insignificant is now of prime importance.
It's a shame it often takes an emergency, a tragedy, or a death before our priorities get reordered. I pray that is not the case for you and that your loyalty is first and foremost to the Savior, whose life was given so you might have life.
On the other hand, if you have a few items which might need to be tweaked, the story of Zanthe's almost death and almost rebirth might just give you the inspiration you need.
In other words, Brighton's second chance might be yours as well.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, in gratitude to my Savior, today's prayer asks that You will create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. In the Savior's Name. Amen.
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries