If Today Was Your LAST Day…

Leinen FamilyThis past Thursday evening Susan asked me, “You know what tomorrow is, right?” I thought for a minute and then realized what she was referring to. “We should celebrate,” she said. And at first, I hesitated, thinking, “What are we celebrating?” Then almost immediately what went through my mind was, “Of course we should!” You see, Friday, was Feb 1st 2013. It was exactly 5 years after Friday, Feb 1st 2008 – a day I will never forget!

On that Friday, a day like any other day, the start of a normal weekend, I went into my bedroom at about 10pm. A pain like no other began to rise in my chest. I yelled for Susan to come to my aid and call 911. She did that and then came to sit with me as I lie on my bed in excruciating pain. I thought I was having a heart attack. Little did I know at the time that it was much worse than that – my aorta was dissecting and coming apart with every beat of my heart. My mind was racing with so many thoughts. But the one thought that I can remember as if it were yesterday, was this – “I’m going to die and I’m in big trouble.” My sins, current and past sins, were overwhelming my thoughts. What was I going to do when I stood before Jesus and His Father? Never have thoughts of hell been so clear to me – thoughts that this is where “I” deserved to be sent. As you can imagine, I was terrified. So the only thing I could do, as I lay there in pain, was to keep telling Jesus that I loved Him, that I believed in Him, that I needed His forgiveness – otherwise I was doomed.

Well, most of you already know this story. Most of you lived it with me. To this day, I cannot understand why I had those thoughts. I know that many years ago I had given my life to Christ and He in turn gave me new life. He had forgiven all of my sins, past, present and future. He had given me the hope of eternal life with Him in heaven. So, what was I afraid of? Honestly, I don’t know.

On Friday we celebrated the 5 year anniversary of that life-changing event. What did we celebrate? This is what we celebrated:

  • That God performed an unmistakable miracle in sparing my life, putting on display His awesome power to save life or destroy it.
  • That God had given my family the gift of more time. More time to love and live with each other.
  • That God had shown and continues to show His steadfast love to my family repeatedly through the love and care of many brothers and sisters in Christ from the church.

But even these things would not be enough if not for the constant reminder and encouragement that,

  • God has forgiven all of my sins – even though I may not always feel forgiven – even though I may sometimes fear that my sins have not been paid for.
  • Because of this truth I no longer need to fear that I will ever experience God’s wrath as punishment for my sins – which are many.
  • When I die someday (because we all die, eventually), I will be with Him in heaven, for all of eternity.

This leaves me in a place where I can only trust, by faith, in what Jesus said in His Word – that He would never leave or forsake me – and many other promises just like that. As I reflect on this list of things that we celebrated I realize that these are all things that each of one us can celebrate EVERY day. Can you celebrate and praise God for these things? What if today was your last day?

Comments

  1. We are VERY thankful that the Lord has given you more time to do His work here at The Bridge! He has so much more for you to do. 🙂
    May He bless you with years and years to come. We love you (and Susan)!

  2. Our God is great! In the providence of God, before we even began to attend TBBF, my sister (Diane Brown) shared with me about a dear brother who was in a serious, life-threatening state. We prayed for you then, even before we knew you personally. What a blessing it is to be able to sit under your teaching now! We are so thankful that God spared your life!! Mike and Pam

  3. Randy and Susan. I celebrate with you. God is good – all the time!!
    Sue Graf