If you have not had the scare of a potential terminal diagnosis yet, it probably is coming. I have had a few, which thankfully have all resolved with either time or a scalpel. It has always led to a rehearsal of "Getting My Stuff Together" before the final curtain. Always I once again review my will, my end of life directives, and most importantly, cleaned out my drawers, closets, and cabinets. EVERY Southern woman lives in dread of sudden death and all of her friends finding out she was a closet slob all her life. We all want everyone to think we are neat and tidy--have our act together. What a joke!
I have entered the season of life when friends are now living with terminal diagnoses. Our bodies are not meant to live forever and they begin to wear out. Heart problems, kidney failures, poorly functioning lungs, and of course, cancer loom large in the lives of many of my peers. The question becomes not if we will die, but the length of term remaining in the terminal. It can be an ominous presence in our lives. It can also give us time to prepare for what is coming. It is coming for all of us. I love the expression, "We don't get out of this alive." "It is appointed unto men once to die." Hebrews 9:27 Some are given a last call--warning buzzer if you might, to prepare and get our ducks in a row.
We are given the gift of saying our final good byes with dignity and grace. As COVID has made us keenly aware, not everyone gets that opportunity to say good bye--stand by their loved one in those final moments. In my professional career, I have encountered more times than I care to remember things being left in a mess when someone passes. It is NOT a favor to anyone you love to not prepare for the inevitable.
What must Jesus have thought as He rode into Jerusalem that final time with the crowds going wild? He knew---He knew before He ever slipped into this world where it would end and how. He was born with a terminal diagnosis of becoming the Sacrificial Lamb. He knew from the very beginning He would stand between life and death for all those Who call Him Savior. The final days stretched out before Jesus. Did He know He had taken care His business of this Earth? His final days drew Him to the long ago prophesied conclusion. He knew how He would die and the pain He would suffer--and yet He stayed the course and fulfilled all that had been foretold. He finished well--Will We?
"No wonder my heart is glad, and I rejoice.
My body rests in safety.
For you will not leave my soul among the dead
or allow your Holy One to rot in the grave.
You will show me the way of life,
granting me the joy of Your presence
and the pleasures of living with you forever."