My wife and I were sitting on the couch watching a movie on TV and eating popcorn. All of the sudden a popcorn hull shot down my windpipe as if it had wings. It immediately took my breath away. My air supply was cut off to the place that the thought raced through my head, “This is it!” I managed to get up, but quickly fell to my knees gasping for a breath that wasn’t there. As my knees hit the floor I could feel myself blacking out. My thought was, “I am going to die.” Before I completely blacked out my wife slapped me on the back and I managed a weak cough that was just enough to clear my air passage to keep me from checking out. Another cough, a little stronger than the last one, enabled me to inhale more air into my lungs. Slowly raising to my feet it took me a bit to get my bearings back and get to where I could breathe normal.
It all happened in a matter of seconds. I was stunned. I was shaken. It all happened in the time it takes to snap one’s finger. I was concerned last year about being a victim of prostate cancer, but I have survived that and seem to be doing very well. I never dreamed I might be meeting the Lord on the wings of a popcorn hull!
Oh, the uncertainty of life.
Life is so fleeting. James wrote, “For what is your life? It is even a vapor, that appears for a little time, and then vanishes away” (James 4:14). The Psalmist wrote, “Man’s days are as a shadow that passes away” (Ps. 144:4). They are right, that is for sure.
When you are down on your knees gasping for a breath that isn’t there you realize how quickly you can be removed from the land of the living and those you love. Since we know not when our last breath will be, let us be about letting those we love know we love and care about them, for the day will come when we no longer can. While those we love and care about can at times get on our “last nerve,” as we do theirs, let us pause during such times and ask ourselves the question, “Would I say this or act like this if it was the last time I was with them?” I think we all know the answer to that question.
Too often we think we are going to live forever. Life is so fleeting, fragile and uncertain we should never take it for granted. Life is a precious, precious gift not to be misused or abused. Treasure each day as a gift from heaven, for it could be your last one and someday there will be that last one. We need to learn to live in the awareness of the fragility of life. Because life is like a vapor we need to invest our life in being a blessing in the lives of others for that is what enriches life for others and ourselves.
As well, because life passes quicker than a text message traveling through space, we need to be prepared for when the time comes to meet our Maker. The inspired Author of Hebrews reminds us, “And it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment” (Heb. 9:27). That is one appointment we cannot cancel. I am thankful that over forty years ago I took care of that eventual meeting I will have with the Lord by accepting Christ as my Savior. “There is now no condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus” (Rom 8:1). While I have fallen woefully short of what I should be I am most grateful that I will be able to stand before our holy Lord uncondemned for my sin, not because of anything that I have done, but because of what the Lord did for me in Christ’s perfect life and His provision on the cross for all my transgressions. Every day I stand amazed that he paid my sin debt for me.
My dear friend, be thankful for every breath the Good Lord grants you. Don’t just assume you will have another one. No one is guaranteed another second of life. Rejoice in the gift of life you have been gifted this minute and use it wisely, lovingly and productively.
And first and foremost, be sure you have made preparation that when that day does come for you to take flight from this life you will be prepared to meet the Creator of us all. And the wonderful truth is our Creator became our Redeemer in Jesus Christ that when that day comes those who have embraced Him as Savor He will usher us into His presence…even if it is on the wings of a popcorn hull!!