On Tuesday, July 1st, 2014, Adam and his brother Lou were working under his truck. Unfortunately they didn’t have it blocked up and the truck fell off the jack. The truck came down on both brothers. Thankfully Lou was able to walk away from the incident with only aches and pains. Adam on the other hand was without oxygen for an extended period and has been in a coma ever since the accident. You can keep up with his story here. What follows is a note about eternal life and in particular my brother-in-law’s eternal life that I wrote of day 52 of the ordeal.
When Jesus told His disciples He was going to die, Peter chided Him and offered to the Author what he thought was a better plot, a better story. A story of resistance that didn’t include a trial or suffering or a cross. A story, that even now, on this side of that beautiful and bloody cross, is strangely, and unfortunately all too appealing even to those of us who believe.
Peter adamantly vowed to lay down his life for Jesus. And on the night of His betrayal, when the great crowd with clubs and swords came to arrest the Messiah, Peter drew his sword, and aiming to make good on his promise, lopped off a man’s ear. I don’t believe Peter was afraid to die that night. Peter was certainly not afraid to fight although considerably outnumbered. However willingly or recklessly, Peter very well could have lost his life in that garden and yet he would have lost life that night by trying to keep it. By trying to grab instead of by losing.
Jesus came and lived and died not so we could live. Jesus died so we could die and three dark days later our Sovereign Savior rose and conquered death and that means this enemy death, has been defanged and defeated. Jesus died so we could die and He lives so we can live new. Death has lost all power and while death and suffering and sickness and loss and the unknown still make us cry, that dreadful enemy death cannot poison us with the devastating sting of hopelessness.
Lose your life and you will find true life, Jesus said. This is the way of the King. The way to the King. And this is precisely what our journey on this globe and in His Kingdom is all about. It is about learning how to die. I don’t mean dour morbidity. Learning how to die means living well. Living with our own frailty and weakness and mortality uncovered and in full view. Following our King.
Tim Keller says joy is buoyancy. Storms rage and Christians are not insulated and immune from the evils of this fallen world, as Adam’s situation more than proves. We are not immune, but we are unsinkable.
Rejoice in the Lord always, and again I say rejoice. This is something that our loving Father teaches us, not in an instant or by osmosis, but by taking our hand and walking with us through the valley of death’s shadow. Joy is something that the Good Shepherd teaches us by comforting us with His rod and staff as He whispers in our ears, “Hold on my child, I will never leave you or lose you. You are mine and we will be together forever. We are going home.”
Our promise is much greater than any temporal prosperity or bodily longevity that we are so tempted to idolize and like Peter, grab for. Adam’s gain, Adam’s promise is Christ. It’s life and joy that will never end, that cannot be snuffed out by the weight of this sinful world. For Adam to live is Christ. For Adam to die, is gain.
We are not promised tomorrow. Adam is not promised tomorrow. This should never scare us or make us sad, because Adam is promised eternity with Christ and with all who believe. Make no mistake, we are praying desperately for complete and total healing. Not just for better neurological responses, not for better twitches or eye movements, we are praying for Adam to wake up and to be absolutely, 100% mentally and physically and emotionally healed and whole. But in truth, we don’t know what tomorrow holds, which is why we are still praying and pleading! (2 Sam. 12:22-23). But, we know the Sovereign Father who holds Adam, who was holding Him 52 days ago, and who will hold him for all eternity.
We must not look at Adam in his current condition, or any of our loved ones who suffer, and lose hope as if it is the end. This is not the end. The end of these bodies, when they finally do fail us (and they will fail all of us whether tomorrow or 100 years from now) will not be an end at all, it will be a sweet beginning. World without end. Amen.
“And this is the promise that He made to us—eternal life.” – 1 John 2:25