After the death of Joshua, the Israelites asked the Lord, “Who of us is to go up first to fight against the Canaanites?”
The Lord answered, “Judah shall go up; I have given the land into their hands.”
- Judges 1:1-2
Isaac said, “I am now an old man and don’t know the day of my death. Now then, get your equipment—your quiver and bow—and go out to the open country to hunt some wild game for me. Prepare me the kind of tasty food I like and bring it to me to eat, so that I may give you my blessing before I die.”
- Genesis 27:2-4
Often, I awake and start my day before my wife wakes up. I check the clock to make sure she is awake if we have somewhere to go, an hour before we must leave. My wife is former Air Force. She does not need that long. Dialysis days, we both wake up at the same time, but the other days are days when I wonder if my wife has breathed her last or she wonders if I have. My wife must be worried for my health. She used to call on my cellphone at 10:00am if she had not heard me stirring. Now, it’s 9:30am. I let her sleep until an hour before we are leaving for an appointment or church. I get up early so that my water pill is about done when we leave. That gives me early morning time for reading and praying and such. Part of the “such” is rushing to the bathroom, quietly as to not wake my wife.
Also, in the afternoons, my wife is in the master bedroom with the television down low and the door closed. Is she sleeping? Is she watching television? Or has she breathed her last?
My wife and I both think it about each other, but I doubt if either of us is ready for that time when the other has passed to the Lord.
In the first Scripture, Joshua died, and the people of Israel had no idea what to do. In the second Scripture, Isaac was preparing for death, and he wanted a nice meal first. We know what happens next. Rebekah and Jacob concoct a scheme to steal Esau’s blessing, Jacob runs away to avoid Esau’s wrath, and Jacob returns with a huge number of children and a great amount of livestock. And Isaac is still alive. None of us know when we are leaving this world, not even a Patriarch.
But each time I think that my wife is being too quiet, I let her sleep. She is a bear if awakened. She always complains of not enough sleep.
But as the fear mounts, I substitute the fear with prayer. And still, I do not know if I am prepared. Will I be like the Israelites and say that my steadying force in my earthly existence, my far much better half, is gone… Now what? Or will she say the same about me, without the “far much better” part?
We both know a couple of things. We know we are going to be with our Savior when we go. And we know that the other will be in good hands, the one that remains. Beyond that, I do not know if the lack of grieving for my brother, father, and mother over ten years ago will come crashing down on me at that moment.
Yes, it is a subject that you just do not wish to put into words, and I just did.
When your wife has already had open-heart surgery and is presently in end-stage kidney failure, the time left is not way, way, way out there. When my blood pressure and pulse are high and they will not come down, even with higher doses of medicine, you wonder what is next. The time left may be way, way, far away, or I might breathe my last before this can be posted.
But we must live our lives as if today was our last day. Is there someone that you have failed to wish a “Happy birthday” or to say, “I love you”? Is there someone that you owe a kindness? Is there someone that you owe nothing, but something inside says to give them a hug anyway?
Do it today. Tomorrow is not guaranteed.
Soli Deo Gloria. Only to God be the Glory.