My brother’s birth was a most wonderful event in my life. Being much older, I had the fun and fulfillment of sharing in Paul’s life events, learning to walk, going to school, homework helps, football cheers, wedding happiness and most joyful – the arrival of his precious children.
Even greater than all that was mentoring Paul into a living and saving faith through Jesus Christ our Savior.
When cancer struck him I was shaken but soon found that it deepened our fellowship with each other and importantly, with the Lord. Daily phone counsel and prayer built us in faith and courage; although out of state, my frequent visits were precious. I witnessed God’s work in Paul’s heart and faith and was certain of God’s call upon his life, positive that the Lord would heal. When four year old Ella scampered by me one day, turned and surprisingly said, “Jesus is going to heal my dad!” my heart was gripped…no way would God disappoint and dash her precious faith!
Within three years, Paul was hospitalized. One day, shaking their heads, doctors called the family together, “there’s nothing more we can do…” My heart immediately erupted, ‘of course there’s nothing you can do, now God will show you what He can do!’
With courage and strength, Paul knew he was dying, something I could not see nor receive. I refused. After so gladly sharing in all his life experiences, I dropped the ball at this crucial juncture of life and faith…I could not help him die.
During his last night, I stood vigil by Paul’s side, praying through the night. Even when he died the next day I reached out my hand to him, my heart cried, “now, even now Lord I believe You can raise him up!”
In the months that followed, the Lord brought healing into my anger and crisis of faith. While I deeply regret not counseling Paul into eternity, in subsequent years God led me to help others, several parolees, who were suffering and dying.
This post has swirled in my heart for a while, perhaps the corona crisis stirred it up more. However, I am convinced that our high call as Christ’s Body, especially toward our brethren, not only lies in mentoring each other as we walk with the Lord but mentoring each other as we die in the Lord.
In Charles Spurgeon’s Sermons on the Last Days, he preaches on Biblical truths regarding Christ’s return. However, in the sermon, ‘A Last Lookout’ Spurgeon speaks of our own ‘end’, with a focus on the faith of apostles Paul and Peter…
“He (Paul) does not even say, ‘The hour of my death is at hand,’ but he adopts a beautiful expression, “the time of my departure” – words which are used sometimes to signify the departure of a vessel from the port; the pulling up of the anchor so that it looses its moorings when about to put out to sea…”
“Beloved believer in Christ Jesus…To die is to depart out of this world unto the Father. What say you about your departure?”
“The time of our departure, though unknown to us, is fixed by God, unalterably fixed; so rightly, wisely, lovingly settled, and prepared for, that no chance or haphazard can break the spell of destiny.” (italics his)
“If you take counsel with death, your flesh will find no comfort; but if you trust in God, your faith will cease to parley with these feverish anxieties, and your spirit will enjoy a sweet calm…To live in constant communion with God is a sure relief from all these bitter frettings”
“There is a time to depart; and God’s time to call me is my time to go.”
May the Lord walk us through this life as His light for the truth, refreshing and encouraging those He appoints along the way. May the reality of our eternal life in God’s Kingdom overshadow everything in this temporal world and become a living truth to share with others, to help them live and help them depart.