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Real Answers™
Copyright: ©2007 James J. Jackson
700 words


By: James J. Jackson

Death is something of a morbid topic, and many would rather not even think of death, while others spend much of their time worrying about death and wondering when the Grim Reaper may visit them.

When I was in my teens, I often read the obituary page in the newspaper. I would spot someone who died at age fifty or sixty, and I would think, “Wow were they old! Did he or she think they would live forever?”  Now, in my fifties, when I read about the death of someone in their seventies, or even eighties, I think, “They were so young!”

Age is very relevant.  The obituaries include people from infancy to those over 100 years of age. The reader’s heart aches for the parents who have lost a newborn or very young child, although it is impossible to really empathize unless one has actually experienced it.

Many obit writers take pains to say that the deceased was not just a statistic, but a vital, much-loved part of a family.  They list the deceased’s accomplishments and survivors. Many express the deceased’s faith in Christ; others simply announce the death, with no indication as to what the person believed or much else about him or her.

The Bible teaches us to take measure of our lives and to give thanks in all circumstances. A few years ago, a friend, Kevin, was diagnosed with ALS, known as “Lou Gehrig’s Disease”. His physician advised him what to expect; the disease is fatal, and Kevin would slowly lose strength in his arms and legs and spine. He would soon lose his ability to walk or move at all. His brain, however, would remain intact and strong, witnessing the wasting of his body. Most victims live from one to four years from diagnosis, and usually die when the throat muscles collapse, and suffocation occurs.

Kevin, in his late thirties, took a disability retirement from his job and went home dreading what had befallen him. At first, he was angry, wondering why God hated him so. Then he felt despair.  As he turned down his street, Kevin drove past a neighbor, Matt, out for a run.  Matt, a strong, vibrant young man, smiled and waved at Kevin as he passed by.  Kevin waved back, and, in depths of despondency, shouted out loud, “I would almost give my soul if I could change places with Matt right now!”

Kevin lived about four years, during which he learned to paint and write with some of the technological tools invented for ALS patients.  He watched his children grow into teens, and was able to share many life lessons with them. He was nourished and cared for by his loving, supportive wife, Kerri. He had never had much of a worship life, until one day at therapy he met another ALS patient who seemed all too happy for someone facing such a disastrous future.

This man, Mel, told Kevin that he believed that all things work for good in those who love the Lord and shared the Gospel message with Kevin. Mel stated that after he was diagnosed with ALS he began reading the Book of Job, and he had adopted a passage from it as his source of strength: “Though he slay me, yet will I hope in him; I will surely defend my ways to his face.” 

Kevin prayed to receive the free gift of eternal life that Jesus had paid for with His death, and he began to see his life through different eyes. He found out that his neighbor, Matt, had been struck by a car and killed shortly after passing by on the same day when Kevin had dreamed of changing places with him.

Kevin knew then that God had allowed him to have ALS so that he could come to know Christ as his savior, and.had God granted his wish Kevin would have had only a few moments to live, and would have missed out on so much.  He adopted a verse from Matthew as his source of strength for the remainder of his life, Matt 6:27: “Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?”


"Real Answers™" furnished courtesy of The Amy Foundation Internet Syndicate. To contact the author or The Amy Foundation, write or E-mail to: P. O. Box 16091, Lansing, MI 48901-6091;

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