About a month ago, Rob, age 54, called for an appointment with me and the other pastors. I had no idea what it was about, maybe unhappiness about something – pastors all too easily go there. Rob and his wife entered my office, and very quickly announced their reason for coming. He has been diagnosed with stage four pancreatic cancer.
Of course, we prayed for them, asking for God’s intervention and healing. But the ministry that day was not so much us to Rob, but Rob to us as he encouraged us with God’s provision and promises, sharing the story of Gods’ saving and sustaining grace in his life.
Rob has started a very rigorous chemo-therapy. What he has described, I liken to “shock and awe” in war time, but this time his body is the target, the whole body suffering in an effort to attack the enemy, cancer.
After more than a week of severe sickness from treatment, as Rob was recovering from the first round and anticipating the second, he did some posts on Caring Bridge, continuing a ministry to me that began that day in my office.
Here is part of a recent post:
As we all begin another week on this earth I leave you with this challenge from J.C. Ryle, Bishop of Liverpool
“Oh, that men and women would learn to live with an awareness that one day they are going to die! Truly it is a waste of time to set our hearts on a dying world and its short-lived comforts and pleasures, and for the sake of momentary pleasures to lose a glorious eternity in Heaven! Here we are striving, laboring, exhausting ourselves about little things, and running here and there like ants on an ant hill and yet after a few years we will all be gone, and another generation will take our place. Let us live for eternity. Let us seek His Kingdom and His Righteousness that can never be taken from us.” ~ J.C. Ryle
The evening after I read this, one of my closest friends called with the sad news that his sister’s husband, 54 years old,the same age as Rob, seemingly in perfect health, had gone to bed the night before and died shortly thereafter, presumably from an aneurysm. Sad, but not hopeless as this man also knew the saving grace of Jesus.
What wisdom in Rob’s post of Bishop Ryle! Whether with advance warning or not, be sure you are ready for death and for the life that cannot end.
The gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. Romans 6:23