“My father is dying of cancer. Will you please give him a call? He has been asking about you. I know that hearing from you will give him comfort.” The daughter of an elderly gentleman whom I had met during my visit to the Philippines called.
Life is just too short. The Native Americans have a way of expressing the brevity of life: Life is no more than 70 winters. And the Holy Scriptures in Psalms 90:10 says the same: “The days of our lives are seventy years; and if by reason of strength they are eighty years, yet their boast is only labor and sorrow; for it is soon cut off, and we fly away.”
The evening news is full of calamities, distresses, and everyday hardships. It’s bad enough that in our everyday lives, we have to contend with our own struggles. Personal tragedies fill many people’s lives, as if these are normal parts of daily living.
Life is hard for most people. We struggle with illnesses, financial worries, flawed relationships, unexpected tragedies and the like, throughout our lives. The very elite in society suffers just as the very poor. In short, no one is immune.
I feel for the impoverished people, especially those in third world and war-torn countries. There’s so much misery and so much despair everywhere. Each time I go home to the Philippines and see the poor make their living, I always try to encourage and give them hope to look forward to something eternally better. Many had asked me, “Aren’t you already in heaven by living in America?” I assure them that I, too, have my share of hardships, but I still long for that wonderful eternal place someday.
Many people with earthly possessions think they need nothing more. They’re quite content with their daily lives and dread death, for they think that’s all there is to life. What a waste if that’s all there is! There just has to be more to life than just living and dying.
I heard a conversation between a ten-year-old girl and her father one day.
“Dad, why was I born? What is my purpose here on this earth? What will happen after I die?”
“Ahhhh, I don’t know.” For a few seconds the dad was speechless and didn’t know how to answer his daughter. The child asked the same questions again. But the Dad had no response.
Back in 1977, I volunteered to take care of my father-in-law who was very ill and in the hospital. He had a heart attack and the prognosis wasn’t good. His pain showed in his eyes. Every day I tried to relieve his suffering through comforting touches and words. I reminded him about a place much better than this world – where there’s no more pain and suffering. And each time he heard my hopeful words, his countenance would change instantly to that of relief. His lips would curve into a little smile and his eyes would glisten. A week later, he died.
In 1998 when my late husband (Edwin Wallace) was dying from a malignant brain tumor, he often saw the anguish on my face; He tried to comfort me. On one such morning, Edwin sat me down at the breakfast table and with his eyes beaming with hope, he said, “Reva, don’t worry. I am now ready to die. It’s going to be just a short time of separation because Jesus is coming very soon! I will see you and Cliff and Adam again! We will be reunited in that beautiful place!”
I have heard some people say that they don’t need heaven because they have great and luxurious lives here on this earth. Many have found fame and fortune. But what a mistake! Jesus offers us eternal life through His death on Calvary. In John 14: 2, 3, Jesus says, “In my Father’s house are many mansions…..I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.”
When we look at the distresses of life, there has just to be something more than just living and then dying. Surely, there’s got to be more. There is no rhyme or reason to life if this is all we have. As the old cliché says, “Life’s not worth living if there isn’t more.” There’s just got to be a HEAVEN!
My mother-in-law once told me that everyone should get to go to heaven because of the tough times we have to suffer here on this earth. I think she’s right.
And so, I made the call to the Philippines. “Lolo Dolfo, I’m so sorry that you have to go through so much pain. But I’m so glad that you’re talking with Jesus. All we have to do is to earnestly ask Him for forgiveness and tell Him that we love Him. If we don’t see each other again here on this earth, we’ll see each other in heaven! I love you!”
“I have surrendered myself to God. I am now ready to rest. Thank you for calling me. I love you, too!” I could hear sobs on the other end. Lolo Dolfo’s voice was getting faint but I knew he had great hopes after our goodbyes.
1 Thessalonians 14: 15 – 17 “For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep. For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. 18 Therefore comfort one another with these words.