Is This How It Ends?

By Vince Hefner
Type: Devotion
Subject: Death; Life; Eternity
Is This How It Ends?
Dr. Vince Hefner, Pastor, First Baptist Church, Cherryville, NC

It has been a long time since I have been a patient in an Emergency Room, and I wished it could have been even longer. But last Monday evening I was a patient instead of a visitor. It all started a few hours earlier when I was working in my yard. I had staked up some apple trees, placed gravel around my patio, and watered my flowers. The only thing left I had to do was move a medium sized flower pot that was full of dirt but absent of any flowers to another location in the yard. I had already worked a couple of hours in the yard and was tired, but this would be my last task for the day, or so I thought. I turned over the flower pot to empty some the dirt to make it easier to move, and unknowingly turned over a yellowjacket nest. Have you ever seen a yellowjacket up close and personal? I have. Before I knew it, I was covered in yellowjackets! I can’t tell you how many times I was stung and bitten, but it was more than I could count. I have kept honey bees, and getting stung isn’t a big deal. However, the amount of stings makes a difference. I took some medicine but felt dizzy and weak.

Eventually I drove myself to the ER but waited several minutes in the parking lot to see if I got better or worse. My heart continued to race and I began to ask myself, “Is this how it ends?” I thought my death would be different, perhaps something heroic where I was helping someone and death would take me along for the ride. I did not want to die covered in bee stings, dirt and grime. I decided to go into the hospital and be seen by a doctor. I tried to remain calm on the outside by answering all their questions in a polite yet timely fashion. All along on the inside I was screaming, “I’m dying, my heart is about to explode!” Sure enough, my blood pressure was the highest it had ever been, and my resting pulse was double its regular number. I looked at a big screen they had in my room telling me my vitals. I was trying to remain calm while wondering what my wife was going to do once I was gone. If I’m cremated, will she negotiate the best price? Will the Braves win the World Series this year? Will my grandkids remember me? It’s amazing how many random thoughts enter your mind when you think the Grim Reaper will be your next visitor in the ER. In a few minutes the doctor came back in and told me my blood pressure was going down, I hadn’t shown any signs of going into shock, and that I would be just fine. I pointed to the screen that revealed all my vital signs and mentioned that my resting pulse was at 96. That was awfully high. The doctor told me that was not my resting pulse, rather it was my oxygen level. I was misreading the equipment! I guess I wasn’t going to die after all, at least that day!

The issue of death is not as far off as many people would like to believe. For the Christian, they have already died to this life. Galatians 2:20 says, “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.”

One of the biggest battles a believer will face is between the spirit and the flesh. If you try to live your life claiming to be a disciple of Christ, but follow the passions of the flesh, then you will have one problem after another. If you can accept the leadership of the Holy Spirit to guide you in your daily activities, then your circumstances will not be in charge of your feelings. Your attitude will be controlled by the love that Jesus has for you and the plans that He has for your life. Trust Jesus as your Redeemer as well as your Good Shepherd to guide you through every aspect of life. If you do this, you will be blessed of God and be a blessing to others. Remember, don’t give in to sin. Think about it!