Thursday, September 24, 2009

I'm gonna lose it anyway...

The conversation with my uncle was rather one sided due to his intense struggle to communicate. He lay there in his hospital bed almost entirely unable to move, a ventilator breathing for him. I brought him Piper's book, The Misery of Job and the Mercy of God. With his hands too weak to hold the book, I asked him if he might like me to read it to him. He responded with a barely perceivable nod.

I brought this particular book because it has repeatedly proved so powerful in my life as it has often served to highlight the hope sustaining medicine, that is the sovereignty of God. Only shortly after beginning to read, I choked up as tears streamed down my face. The powerful words combined with the massive reality of visible suffering, seen in my devastated uncle, was overwhelming.

The last sentence I was able to read was this, "O Lord, if this were lost instead, and all I had was You, I would be rich, and have the greatest Good." I couldn't finish the sentence the first time, but had to attempt to gather my composure. Even then the words could only barely come out of my mouth, "It's ok to lose everything, if in the end we gain Him." This is exactly what Paul said, "I have suffered the loss of all things and count them but rubbish in order that I may gain Christ."

It's ok if we lose everything and in the end gain Him. The words hung in the air more powerful in this atmosphere of incredible loss and suffering. He responded in a slow feeble whisper, "I'm gonna lose it anyway." Until then my uncle had struggled to form words. But here his message was uniquely comprehendible.

My uncle is dying of ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig's disease. He was recently diagnosed with this disease and appears to be rapidly declining in health. He is currently in a local hospital and has only within the last few weeks been put on a ventilator.

The words of my uncle proclaim a truth which is largely disregarded in our day. One day we will all indeed "lose it anyway."

The question remains, why then do we live as if this is not the case? We would be wise to consider the wisdom from this man whose time on this earth is short. Men in such circumstances do not lie.


Mike said...

Brother, I am so sorry for the grief you must be suffering. However, I am thankful that in the midst of it, you and your uncle are teachable.

I trust your uncle is a believer, based on his desire to hear Piper's words read to him. I will pray that God comforts you during this difficult time. In the end, your uncle has a great hope in Jesus Christ, that when his eyes finally close, He will wipe away his tears and welcome into eternal Sabbath.

God bless you, my brother.

Unbreakable Joy said...


The interesting thing is that we were never really very close. He had asked to speak to me, but I'm guessing it is because he is very lonely in the hospital.

My mom has had an opportunity to share the Gospel with him. My friend, who went w/me to see him, and I were able to share the gospel with him again and to pray for him.

He appears to be a different person. I commented on this to my friend who had gone with me. My friend replied, it would be difficult for someone to go through something so traumatic without being changed or drastically impacted.

"His way is in the storm."

"He is kind in ways that will not fit your mind."
- Piper

"Unkindly has He kindly shown, that He was not my hope alone."
- Piper