One year ago my wife and I traveled with two other couples to go to Hawaii. While we were there we got the following text on our phones, “Emergency Alert. Ballistic Missile Threat inbound to Hawaii. Seek immediate Shelter. This is not a drill.” Now to be honest this “alert” lasted for 15 minutes or so but we had not checked our phones for the first 10 minutes. We could hear a siren in the background and we wondered if there was a fire drill going in our condo. We looked over the balcony and people were swimming and others simply waved. No one was panicking. Then my wife checked her phone and found the message.
What was our reaction? Most of us said, “Well there are worse places to die than Hawaii!” Howard, another military chaplain, said, “I don’t want to die with Ken near me!” (He is such a loving person). We decided to sit on the balcony and wait for the flash! A few minutes later we got the next text message that essentially when, “Oops. Ignore previous message.”
Sadly this situation happens fairly often. Not necessarily pending death by Ballistic missile, but many people get news that they have cancer. People have a heart attack. People drive on the Anthony Henday and are surrounded by idiot drivers. The reality of death can sometimes hit us hard.
As Christians, we don’t have to be afraid of death. Ok…the dying part might suck…but the death itself is not something we have to worry about. John 3: 16 “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”
No one wants a lingering painful death. However an eternal life sounds interesting. I’m more surprised when people think that eternal life begins only after death. Why not think that eternal life begins now! Start doing the things that you want to take into eternity. Take harp lessons now (or pick some other musical instrument). Turn off the TV and invite some friends over for games and have a laugh or two. Pick some recipe that has a picture and try to recreate it with your family (In my case what I make and what it is supposed to look like is never the same!) Practice kindness to all people. Be loving. Be caring. Don’t hold grudges. Live your life as you would want it to be throughout eternity.
May God’s blessing be upon you.
Padre Kenneth MacRae
Chaplain – Canadian Forces