"Last Requests "
April 29, 2017
1 John 4:19 - We love because He first loved us.
The doctors at Denmark's Aarhus University Hospital had told Carsten Flemming Hansen that he had a ruptured aortic aneurysm. Then they told the 75-year-old Hansen that he was too sick to have surgery.
Translating the doctor's words so everybody can understand -- those MDs were telling Hansen he had days, maybe hours, to live. The news got Hansen thinking. He asked himself, "Do I have a last wish? Is there something I want to do with the time left to me?" Eventually, Hansen came up with an answer to his question. He told his nurse, Rikke Kvist, "I wish I could have one last cigarette and a glass of wine."
Now to you and me, that may sound like a frivolous last request. No matter how nurse Kvist might have felt personally, she decided to try and fulfill her patient's wish. That meant she had to petition the hospital for an exemption to their ironclad "no smoking" policy.
The hospital officials agreed when Nurse Kvist said she could wheel Hansen and his bed out to the hospital balcony. A few days later the hospital released a touching photo of Hansen, surrounded by his family, enjoying his smoke and a glass of white wine, as the sun set.
Now, Mr. Hansen's request might not be yours. It certainly isn't mine.
That being said, the story got me wondering: if the physicians told me my time on this earth was extremely limited, what would I do? What would be my last request? Would it be something as simple as a glass of wine and a sunset? Would it be the kind of wish that called for months of planning and a small fortune to make a reality?
Seriously, take a moment and ask yourself what would you do if you were limited to 24 hours?
Did you ever think of the requests Jesus made in His last 24-hour-period with His disciples? There are a number of things He requested:
1. He told His disciples they ought to serve others.
2. He asked them to stay awake with Him in the Garden.
3. He prayed that if it were possible the "cup of suffering" might be taken away from Him. (It was a wish followed by another wish, namely, that the Lord's "will be done.")
4. From the cross, He asked His Father to forgive the sins of those who put Him there.
5. He asked John to take care of His mother.
You will note that very few of Jesus' requests centered on Himself. Most of them were concerned with the physical and spiritual future of those He was leaving behind. From the mouth of anyone else, it would be a surprising list.
Coming from the Savior -- whose entire life was spent saving a lost and sinful world -- it is not a shock. It's the kind of thing our heaven-sent Redeemer would do.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, for Your thinking of sinners, I give thanks. For living Your life to save those sinners, I praise Your Name. For making me a saved soul, I shall always be in Your debt. May I acknowledge that debt in serving You every day of my life. In Your Name. Amen.
The story upon which this Daily Devotion is based was written by Evann Gastaldo for Newser on April 20, 2017. The website where the parent article can be found is: www.newser.com/story/241104/patients-last-wish-granted-a-cigarette-and-a-glass-of-wine.html
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries