The uncertainties of life and the certainty of death
Life is filled with uncertainties. Webster’s New World Dictionary defines the word uncertain as “questionable; problematical and doubtful.” It is not steady or constant.
Many things in life are uncertain. Somebody said, “Only two things are certain — taxes and death.” Taxes hit us every year. Death will come but once. The important thing is to be ready when that moment arrives.
People die at all ages. Some die as young children, as teenagers or in their twenties. Others live much longer. I have known people who lived for more than 100 years. The Bible records that people once lived to be hundreds of years old.
Methuselah lived to be the oldest man ever. As far as we know his father, Enoch, did not die. The record says, “Enoch walked with God, then he was no more, because God took him away” (Genesis 5:24, NIV). “Altogether, Enoch lived 365 years” (v. 23), Enoch’s son, “Methuselah lived 969 years, and then he died” (Genesis 5:27, NIV).
Read chapter five of Genesis for the line of Adam who “lived 930 years, and then he died” (vs. 5). The sons and daughters of this historic period had excellent genes and the proper diet for longevity. Maybe they knew something we do not know.
In recent weeks good friends, some of my oldest and best have died. The day before completing this column, I attended the funeral of my friend, Clarence Eugene Kemper of Scott Depot, WV. We had been schoolmates at Decota Grade School, Leewood Junior High and at East Bank High School. He was one of the finest men I have ever known, a man of strong and deep Christian faith.
Recently my senior classmate at Hurricane High, Troy Rooper died. I saw him at church every Sunday morning. Troy was a teacher and craftsman, a man of unusual skill and ability who was married to a younger classmate, the beautiful Patsy Joyce.
On July 6, I was in Galesburg, IL, to speak at the memorial service for Richard Larson, whom I met in 1964 in Decatur, IL. This brilliant accountant with his wife, Marie, and five children – Lloyd, Chris, Juanita, Jeanette and Marjorie, were a model family in terms of community, school and church.
On Sunday evening, July 28, I was a speaker for the funeral service of my long-time close friend and graduate school classmate, the Rev. Dr. Jim Chapman, a nationally known churchman who had successfully served as a missionary, pastor, educator, businessman and financial advisor. This multitalented man, a significant mentor for others was nationally known for his leadership abilities.
My friend since college days at Anderson University, David Lynch, was one of the finest pastors I ever knew. He was a freshman when I was a college senior. I was a guest speaker over the years in churches he served. He and his wife, Wanda, helped build Eastside Church of God to be one of the largest and most influential churches in Anderson, IN.
These men left a bright and confident testimony of their faith in Jesus Christ. Patsy Stambaugh Deskins wrote these words about heaven. “If you could see me now, you wouldn’t shed a tear … I’m still very much alive, I’ve just been set free.”
There is one way to heaven. Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me” (John 14:6). There is no sorrow in heaven, no tears, no crying. Make heaven your one big goal in life. It will take us all the rest of our life to get ready for heaven.
© 2013 Wm. C. Ellis
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