One chilly evening in a Wyoming hospital, the doctor slowly sauntered into the room. Her face wasn’t blooming with happiness and she wasn’t as chatty as my family had come to known over the years. Her focus wasn’t on my dad or my mom. She didn’t ask my sister how nursing school was coming. She was focused on my Grandpa, who laid in the hospital bed, breathing heavily from the pain within his chest. His shriveled, gaunt body barely fit in the bed. What remaining hair he had was matted to his head. We had joked that we would dye that one patch of hair pink just to make the doctors laugh. Although, tonight would not have worked.
The doctor sat down and explained to Grandpa that he was exhibiting signs of a blood clot. It was most likely in his lungs. This wasn’t uncommon as he was mostly bed ridden from chemo treatments. Most patients develop a blood clot if they don’t get some kind of regiment to keep the blood flowing.
There was one problem though. They needed to do a test to be sure. The test was the problem. In the previous years, Grandpa had those same kind of tests performed on him and had found out that his kidneys could never handle them. They would almost instantaneously shut down and almost kill him. The doctor had read his charts. She knew he wouldn’t make it through another round of his kidney’s failing.
This lead to her next point. Even if he did survive the test and they found the blood clot, there was no way they could safely remove it with blood thinners. Grandpa had developed ulcers (I swear from watching too much FOX News) in the lining of his stomach. Taking the blood thinners would cause him to bleed out and die.
The doctor finally said that she had been talking with his cancer doctor in Billings, Montana. She discussed the test results from each of his chemo treatments. The results weren’t improving. He was getting worse. The cancer doctor had hoped no problems would arise, even if the chemo had failed, in hopes of qualifying Grandpa for a new highly successful treatment in Colorado for bone cancer patients. However, with the blood clot, they couldn’t do anything.
The doctor gave Grandpa two choices. He could keep going and hope that the blood clot would go away. He could continue chemo and deal with the terrible pain. Or he could go into Hospice. He could get off of the chemo. They would only give him his diabetic medicine and pain medications until he passed.
He looked at everyone in the room and said that he wanted to go home. He wasn’t meaning his physical home. You see, even though Grandpa’s body was failing, his spirit was alive. He wanted to go to his spiritual home…heaven.
He was choosing to die physically, but years ago he chose a life in Christ Jesus. His spirit was going to live on after death.
Just thinking about Grandpa’s decision takes me to the book of Deuteronomy. If I had to sum up that book, it’s about obedience and choices. Especially in Chapter 28, Moses explains two ways the Israelite peopled could go. They could choose to follow the Lord with all of their heart and soul, which in turn would cause a multitude of blessings upon them. The chapter is fairly long, so I won’t mention all of the blessings, but some examples were blessings on their crops, livestock, and family to name a few. They could choose to not follow the Lord, which in turn brings curses upon them that include being invaded by others and enslaved once again.
Today, we still live with those two choices in terms with Christ. We can choose to humble ourselves before the Lord and confess Jesus as our Lord and Savior. Doing that would lead to blessings of being called righteous and children of God with a promise of eternity. Or, we can choose to not accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior. We can choose to let our pride get in the way and be unrepentant. Doing so would lead us to being targets of God’s wrath and a future of eternal torture.
Deuteronomy chapter 30, verses 19 states, “This day I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life so that you and your children may live.” (NIV) Today I remind you of the choices that God gave us that still applies today. I plead with you to choose life and a relationship with Christ. I don’t know about you, but I would rather live a life with Christ, knowing that I can have peace because of the place where I’m going. I don’t want a life filled with curses and moral degradation that leads to eternal destruction.
I’ve chosen life. What about you?