About a month ago Julie’s uncle Rick nearly passed away. For most of his life he has struggled with an inoperable brain tumor. As his condition worsened, so have his chances of living. In fact, he has come near to death many times now. In his latest “close call,” Rick was in ICU and was unresponsive for days. The doctors really did not see much hope and it was looking like his time had come. But, as he has done several other times, he made a turn around. He started improving. He began responding. Soon, he was even able to speak again, and out of his mouth came some very powerful, encouraging, yet thought provoking words. Realizing he almost had died again, he said, “Ah man! I missed it again.” Rick was saying that he missed going away to heaven!
I’m not sure I have ever heard a negative comment come from Rick. He has always been happy and cheerful. Despite the depressing and troubling fact that he nearly died, he still came out with a joyful comment. As a member of the church, he obviously has been looking forward to heaven. What a great statement! What a great attitude to have!
1 Thessalonians 4:16-18 describes the coming of Christ and what glorious day that should be to us. 2 Timothy 4:8 talks about people who will “love” the appearing of Christ. Philippians 1:21 talks about how living is for Christ, and dying is an achievement (going to heaven).
There are two mindsets for the Christian. (1) We are either happy to die and for Christ to come, or (2) we don’t want to die and are fearful of Christ’s return. It is somewhat natural to be afraid of death and Christ’s coming because there are mysterious details that make these events kind of scary. However, if we are living faithfully, then what is there to fear? In either death or Christ’s coming, a faithful person will go to heaven. However, if we are living sinfully, then we certainly do not want to die and face the punishment of hell, nor for Christ to return and realize our time is up.
We can know where we are going by comparing our lives to Scripture. 1 John 1:5-10 talks about how we are either living in the light, or we are living in the darkness (living in sin). Like the apostle Paul, Rick is one who is clearly looking forward to dying and going to heaven. Like Rick, let’s have a, “I missed it again,” type of attitude. Every day let’s look forward to being with the Lord.
So, the question is, are we happy about dying and Christ coming? Or are we afraid of these events? Wherever our spiritual lives are right now, let’s get them to the point where we can look forward to the next life.