A Week Later… Better Than I Deserve

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A Week Later… Better Than I Deserve

Faith Baptist of Zephyrhills

Tue, Oct 12,2021

Hey Church!

How am I doing? You know the answer, “better than I deserve”. And so are you!

Yes, I am doing good. I can feel my wound healing and my strength returning. I just need to be patient and continue to let it heal. My next appointment is tomorrow. When I was discharged, I was given strict orders to not remove the bandage or get it wet. So far, so good! I am looking forward to seeing the wound, having the bandage changed and possibly the staples removed.

My JP drain has nearly slowed to a stop. That is something I would ask prayer for, that it would stop draining entirely. The surgeon told me that cut lymph nodes do not like to seal up. And if they don’t seal on their own, I will need some procedure to close them up. I think they are close to being closed.

I want to recap and summarize some of the things that I said on Sunday. Some of you may have not heard the message or maybe you would like more clarity and/or like to share it with someone who needs it. This experience has given me time to think and process what God tells us about “accidents” and even illnesses.

As I laid in bed recovering, my mind went to a young mom that Summer works with. Her 8-year-old son was killed on an ATV just over a year ago. It is a heartbreaking experience for her, her husband and the younger sister.

Overall, we don’t deal well with life & death issues. And it is easy for our way of thinking to confuse, cloud or even contradict what God says about a very important issue.

So, I ask you to take a few minutes to read over my summary. It is vitally important that we know, understand, and respond to these experiences with God’s wisdom. Often, we can mistakenly mislead people and bring more questions and doubt to people’s faith in God.

What God has taught me from this traumatic experience:

1. Longevity is a myth.

We all know it, but we ignore it. Life is short. Regardless of how many times you circle the sun, it is a “short-ride”! Nearly everybody, wants the “ride” to last longer. We often say “time flies”. Yes, it does. Life is like the amaryllis flowers that bloom annually alongside of our church building. We wait all year for them to bloom and when they do, they are stunning! But the life of the flower is all too short. In just a few days, it is over.

Having officiated at 100+ funerals, I have yet to know or meet a person who thought that their life or the life of their loved one was “long enough”. We all long for more time. In the Bible life is also likened to a shadow, the grass of the field, and a vapor.

So whether you live to be 30,40, 60 or the “ripe old age of ___, it is going to go by fast! Faster than your favorite ride at the amusement park. From an eternal perspective, all of us are going to die young. LIfe is not so much about its duration as it is about it’s donation. So do not waste time.

2. Outcomes Can Be Overrated. The Outcome of an Accident/Illness does not indicate or dictate God’s Goodness/Love.

People mean well when they say, “God sure was with you” after a “close call”. And yes, God was, and is with me/you in those experiences. Wow! I am glad he is. I have been in the ICU by the bedside of my wife and oldest son twice each and knew God was with us. But he is always with us! And he is with us when we live, and certainly when we die.

One of Jesus’ closest friends, Lazarus died of an illness while Jesus was just a short distance away. It is from this loss that we have the words, “Jesus wept”. Jesus grieved. Lazarus sisters said, “Jesus, if you had been here, he would not have died”. Not true. Jesus was “there”, and he did care. God had a plan; it just was not their plan. It was a bigger and better plan than anyone could have anticipated.

All of us are going to die someday, and it is good to know that God is very present when we take our last breath. I knew God was with me at the time of my injury. As I bled, I talked to him. I asked him to keep me alive. But I told him the outcome was out of my control, and I had to trust him with it. Ultimately, I had to say, “His will be done.”

We give unbelievers and critics of the faith a rightful argument when we imply that God was “more” with us when we survive. It implies that we are more favored. What about the 153 thousand people who will die today? It will include both young and old. Good and bad. Saved and unsaved. White & Black. Will God be with them? Yes, he will. His is just as much as with them as with all of us who will live to see another day.

Paul’s view of a death outcome was this: “For me to live is Christ and to die is gain” We can’t see death as a defeat for christians. For Paul it was the preferred outcome! Does that seem radical to you?

3. The Bigger Question. We ask why did they die in that way… The right question is “Am I ready to die?”

Every time a question of the source of a person’s illness or cause of death was raised to Jesus, he corrected their thinking with a question. Don’t ask “why did they deserve to die”, instead he asked them “are you ready to die”? Because it could have been me. I don’t know when I may die.

We would like to think in our natural, humanistic, and egoistic ways that if we “survived” another day on this earth, it was because we deserved it. We think we deserve to live, like God owes it to us. And whether spoken or unspoken, we think that if someone died, they somehow must have “deserved it”. Not true. The truth is, God does not owe any of us another day or breathe.

Life is a gift from God, not a debt he owes us. We should live every day with a heart of gratitude and a great sense of responsibility to make the most of it for our creator.

In conclusion, if you are reading this then you must be alive! And that means, like me, your life has been extended another day.

What are you going to do with it?

In His Gracious Grip,
Pastor Mike