It’s been a week and a half since I fell. Nancy and I were preparing to take the dogs for their nightly walk. She was behind me as I opened the storm door. Frenchie, our 18-month-old Bichon and Happy Bear, our seven-month-old Pomeranian were at my feet – until our neighbor passed in front of our house with his shepherd. Frenchie took off like a shot to chase it. He bolted so quickly I didn’t have time to grab his leash.
“Stop!” I yelled and took off after him. The shepherd could swallow Frenchie in one bite. Then Happy Bear took off after both of us. He got in front of me within a few steps and as I tried to avoid stepping on him, I suddenly found myself in mid-air, diving onto the concrete walkway. The excruciating agony took away my breath as I crushed my ribs into the unyielding concrete. It all happened so quickly I didn’t have time to even realize I’d fallen until I’d bounced off the cement.
X-rays a few days later told me I’d not broken anything. But the persistent chest pain – especially when I take deep breaths – reminds me how life can change in an instant.
And now I think of Roger. He used to live at one of the 55+ communities where I teach a Bible study and preach a sermon each week. Over the years that I’d known him, I invited him several times to attend. And each time he politely refused. He seemed to me uninterested in hearing about Jesus.
I learned yesterday he died instantly with a massive heart attack.
My sudden fall, and Roger’s sudden death ought to serve as a warning to everyone reading this: Satan easily deceives us into thinking, “Sudden deaths happen to others – but won’t happen to me.”
That’s a very dangerous mindset. I didn’t know I’d fallen until after I hit the pavement. And although I do not know Roger’s relationship with Christ, I am sure of this, because of the suddenness of his death, Roger didn’t know he was dead until his spirit left his body. Only God – and now he also – know whether his spirit is eternally alive with Christ, or eternally damned without Him.
For very good reason the Scripture warns: “He who believes in the Son has eternal life; but he who does not obey the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.” (John 3:36)
We hear it sometimes so often it becomes cliché. But it’s a sober truth, nonetheless: Sudden death can take any one of us in a moment. Even today.
Are you ready to enter eternity?