There is the story of an older man on his death bed. His family had gathered around to comfort him and heard him say, “If I go, I’ll be with Jesus; if I stay, He will be with Me”. In the most basic of words, the old gentleman echoed the sentiments of the Apostle Paul, “For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain” (Philippians 1:21 KJV).
I sat beside my wife’s bed in the Cardiac Critical Care Unit at the hospital. She had suffered a heart attack and had a blood clot in the left ventricle of her heart. Systems were failing and shutting down. Feeding tube, picc-line, other IV’s, catheter, oxygen, and more filled the area around her bed. She was in pain and deep distress, virtually unable to hear or speak.
She clung to life over the next several days as my family and I hung onto her. Somewhere during one of those dark nights, I reached a resolve. She was in the Lord’s hands. “In his hand is the life of every creature and the breath of all mankind” (Job 12:20). Medical science can go so far and no farther. Now, I had to wholly trust the Lord. This I knew, “Everything he does is good! He even heals people who cannot hear or talk” (Mark 7:37, CEV).
A peace, not as the world gives, came to me from Jesus (John 14:27). If she goes ahead, she will be with Jesus and if she stays here and recovers, He will be with her. Against all odds, she began to improve. Days passed, she made steady progress and was finally able to return home. She stayed ‘here’ and He truly has been and is with her.
What a terrifying thought to walk into the valley of the shadow of death without the ‘Lord of Life’ by your side. May I ask: “When, in a split second, your life teeters on the brink, is your relationship with Jesus such that you can say, “For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.”?”
The words of the great Hymn, “It Is Well With My Soul”, bring peace and comfort:
Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come,
let this blest assurance control:
that Christ has regarded my helpless estate,
and has shed his own blood for my soul.”
~ Brother Roy