Yesterday, as I was brushing my teeth in the locker room, a friend came up and said, “Justin, did you know that John had cancer?” I had no idea. John and Sally like to travel, so even though I hadn’t seen the two of them in quite a while, I didn’t think anything of their absence.
John is a kind hearted soul. He’s always been willing to share a lane when he’s in the pool (unfortunately, that’s a rarity at the gym). He has taken the time to check on my health. When we were changing secretaries at the church, I teased John that I wanted to hire him; he understood I was teasing, but the next day he came with a list of people whom I might want to interview (I didn’t have the heart to tell him we planned – and did – hire “internally”). When I went on vacation and forgot to tell John, he worried himself sick about me – worried my health had deteriorated. John has, over the time I have gotten to know him, become a dear friend.
On my way back from the gym this morning, I stopped to see John. I wasn’t sure if I should or not – do people really want someone they know from the gym showing up at their front door? Well, John and Sally were tickled to see me. John is deteriorating rapidly; he knew me, but he could barely hold conversation, and he kept falling asleep while we were talking. I fear that his end will not be far off.
John’s struggle has made me think:
- Value your family. You never know when the end will come.
- Pray often. You never know when you’ll meet the Father to whom you pray.
- Love much. Let those you leave behind know how much they were loved.
- Exercise spiritually. John exercised his body every day, but his body is fading quickly. The soul is eternal and far more important than the body.
- Seek respect. John is respected by everyone who knows him; guys at the gym this morning asked me to pass along hellos.
- Live each day as though it’s your last. It may be.
- Spend time in Scripture. God’s Word will guide us in the darkest night and lead us to faith in Christ where salvation is found.
- Remember “stuff” is just stuff. No matter how many material possessions you accumulate, you will never take them with you.
- Make sure you’re right with God. In the end, nothing else really matters.
If you would, pray for John and his family. Make sure you live life in light of its certain end.