For the first twenty-four hours after that appointment, I was numb. A twenty-two year old isn't supposed to die because he or she is sick. Twenty-two year olds are supposed to graduate from college, get married, have kids, and live long, happy lives. Suffering isn't supposed to become a part of a person's life until he or she becomes elderly. In my mind, the doctor had simply made a mistake. I couldn't be as sick as he said. He read the tests wrong, or better yet, he had grabbed the wrong patient file and thought I was somebody else. Unfortunately, I could only live in denial for so long before the physical pain set-in. When this happened, I could no longer fool myself into believing I wasn't sick. The excruciating pain in my body demanded I accept the truth.
Like most young adults, I was dying to live. Death was a horrible prospect, and I didn't want to think about it. Yet the more diseased my liver became, the more I began to welcome death. Anything was better than the constant pain and nausea I had to endure. After awhile, I began begging God to either take away my pain or send me to Heaven. Neither one happened.
It was during this time God taught me an important lesson. Using the first part of Philippians 1:21, He helped me see I had been living for myself. Paul said, "for him to live is Christ." It could also be said that Paul was living for Christ, and Christ was seen by others because of how Paul chose to live. I couldn't say this about myself. Even though I went to church and had a daily devotion, I was living for myself. In that moment, I realized if I were to die in a year, my life wouldn't amount to much. I would be missed, but I wouldn't have made much of an impact on the lives of others.
From that day on, I have tried to live out the truth of Philippians 1:21. I want to live for Christ, and make an impact for His kingdom. What about you?
Are you dying to live? Is your life all about you, or is it all about God? The majority of people who read this understand they are on borrowed time. One can't live with a chronic illness without knowing this truth. So the question becomes, "What are you doing with the time you have left?" Can you honestly say, "For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain?" I don't know about you, but this is my heart's cry. Will you join me?
"Alive, I'm Christ's messenger; dead, I'm His bounty. Life versus even more life! I can't lose. As long as I'm alive in this body, there is good work for me to do. If I had to choose right now, I hardly know which I'd choose. Hard choice! The desire to break camp here and be with Christ is powerful. Some days I can think of nothing better. But most days, because of what you are going through, I am sure that it's better for me to stick it out here. So I plan to be around awhile, companion to you as your growth and joy in this life of trusting God continues. You can start looking forward to a great reunion when I come visit you again. We'll be praising Christ, enjoying each other." ~ Philippians 1:21-26 (The Message)
(c) August 6, 2012