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Tag Archives: dealing with death

Fighting for Your Life

An average, 56 million individuals will lose their life in 2021. Worldwide, 150,000 people will pass away today. While 100,000 will die from age related causes, the remaining 50,000 have no warning signs of their last day on earth. Although no one wants to be diagnosed with a life threatened illness, at least these unfortunate souls have the opportunity to fight for their lives.

In those days Hezekiah became deadly ill. The prophet Isaiah son of Amoz came and said to him, Thus says the Lord: Set your house in order, for you shall die; you shall not recover, 2 Kings 20:1.

During a visit from an Old Testament prophet, King Hezekiah was informed that the end was near. Isaiah is the first to use the expression “set your house in order.” Like a business executive about to retire, Hezekiah was told to begin preparing for his own death by saying goodbye to family and friends. Instead of surrendering to this illness, Hezekiah poured out his heart to God in prayer.

Then Hezekiah turned his face to the wall and prayed to the Lord, saying, I beseech You, O Lord, [earnestly] remember now how I have walked before You in faithfulness and truth and with a whole heart [entirely devoted to You] and have done what is good in Your sight. And Hezekiah wept bitterly, 2 Kings 20:2-3.

As a former high school Bible teacher, two of my former students succumb to cancer before having a chance to enter the prime of their lives. After wrestling with God in prayer, Hezekiah was one of the lucky ones as the Lord extended his life by another 15 years. However, Hezekiah’s healing was not assured until witnessing his shadow go ten steps backwards. As you read this today, may you follow in the footsteps of the apostle Paul by fighting the good fight, 1 Timothy 6:12, until the Lord takes you home.

by Jay Mankus

The Anguish of Disobedience

One of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do was to consul a shaken mother the day after her son died in a car accident.  According to friends in attendance at a party, he only had one beer before leaving.  Impaired slightly, this young man couldn’t negotiate the bend on a countryside road, striking a tree head on, dead on arrival to the nearest hospital.  My sense is this woman wanted me to assure her that her son was doing well in heaven.  Since this boy was missing in action from youth group without any apparent faith, the anguish of her son’s disobedience on earth stirred in her soul.

According to Leviticus 10:1-3, Aaron endured similar trauma, sitting in stunned silence after his 2 oldest sons died suddenly.  Not the greatest role model, Aaron’s greatest claim to fame or should I say shame was creating a golden calf, Exodus 32:2-4.  Perhaps their father’s hypocrisy encouraged Nadab and Abihu to turn a deaf ear to his instructions.  Instead of carefully obeying the words God relayed to Moses, Aaron’s 2 sons began to experiment like 2 curious boys in a chemistry lab.  Subsequently, the pain of disobedience cost Nadab and Abihu their life.

Whether its a suicide note left behind for a family, the dairies of a troubled school shooter or victims of drunk driving, the anguish of disobedience is on display daily.  The free will of one individual’s action has been felt by several members of society.  People are left to wonder what might have been if one out of control human being didn’t cut short the life of their loved one.  May the words of Psalm 34:18 provide some comfort this day for anyone still coping with the anguish of disobedience.

by Jay Mankus

 

The Living Years

Click to show "Mike and the Mechanics" result 4 As a teenager living through the 1980’s, I wasn’t mature enough to understand the meaning of the song The Living Years by Mike and the Mechanics.  Like most kids, I was too preoccupied by my own life, living for the moment.  However, when this song hit the charts in 1988, the lyrics struck a chord with my soul.

While in college, I lost my best friend from high school to cancer and had another close friend lose his brother in a car accident.  When divorces exploded at the end of this decade, I had more friends to console, trying to understand what had just happen to their parents.  By the time I was about to graduate from the University of Delaware in the early 1990’s, trials and tragedy’s were an annual occurrence.  Death wasn’t just a word in a song, it had become real, impacting my life.

When I read the bio of Mike Rutherford online, the founder of Mike and the Mechanics and lead bass player of the classic group Genesis, I was impressed by the dedication, energy and time  it takes musicians before success is reached.  I am reminded that since life is short, its vital to make the most of each day you are given on earth.  Although, I am currently no where near where I want to be in life, its time to get on with the living years!

by Jay Mankus

ps- the lyrics of The Living Years are listed below for your reading pleasure.

Songwriters: RUTHERFORD, MICHAEL/ROBERTSON, BRIAN ALEXANDER

Every generation
Blames the one before
And all of their frustrations
Come beating on your door

I know that I’m a prisoner
To all my Father held so dear
I know that I’m a hostage
To all his hopes and fears
I just wish I could have told him in the living years

Crumpled bits of paper
Filled with imperfect thoughts
Stilted conversations
I’m afraid that’s all we’ve got

You say you just don’t see it
He says it’s perfect sense
You just can’t get agreement
In this present tense
We all talk a different language
Talkin’ in defense

Say it loud, say it clear
You can listen as well as you hear
It’s too late when we die
To admit we don’t see eye to eye

So we open up a quarrel
Between the present and the past
We only sacrifice the future
It’s the bitterness that lasts

So Don’t yield to the fortunes
You sometimes see as fate
It may have a new perspective
On a different date
And if you don’t give up, and don’t give in
You may just be O.K.

Say it loud, say it clear
You can listen as well as you hear
It’s too late when we die
To admit we don’t see eye to eye

I wasn’t there that morning
When my Father passed away
I didn’t get to tell him
All the things I had to say

I think I caught his spirit
Later that same year
I’m sure I heard his echo
In my baby’s new born tears
I just wish I could have told him in the living years

Say it loud, say it clear
You can listen as well as you hear
It’s too late when we die
To admit we don’t see eye to eye

Say it loud, say it clear
Say it loud
Don’t give up
Don’t give in
And don’t know what you can do next

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