Al had been a master automotive mechanic for over thirty years when he faced the ultimatum of risky surgery or death. It would mean a major change in his life and would even require relocation due to the long-term needs of follow on care. He decided to go for it as he didn't want to die, at least not now. So, he medically retired from his job with a South Florida automobile dealership and underwent the exhaustive process of a heart transplant. Once all the testing and evaluation was completed he underwent the surgery which was declared a success and slowly recovered sufficiently to begin really living, although at a different pace. When I met him Friday he was only two months past his first anniversary, a key milestone in measuring full acceptance of the new heart by his body and he was working again, but at a reduced level of physical exertion. We talked about his ordeal and I asked him how tough it had been. His response was amazing.
He said, "Yes, there was significant pain but the pain told me I was still alive and it gave me the push to follow the guidance I was given. Now, at least I can go out and see the birds, trees and all things in nature and work again. My breathing is so much easier, my energy is back and I can deal with the less complex functions of my job. It was worth it for I wasn't ready to meet my Maker yet."
I thought about Al on my way home and felt guilty that I had been perturbed by the minor inconvenience I had been through with a car problem. But I also thought of something so much more important, for the situation faced by Al is one we will all face, just not necessarily with the advance notice that he had. What's more, when life as we know it on earth ends, we don't have to die. We can be born again by accepting the gift of Eternal Life that Jesus Christ offers us if only we believe. Yes, it takes some work and effort and it means for most of us a change of lifestyle and thought. But, like the story of Al's life on earth, our story of life after this earthly one offers life everlasting in a new life, a new life and without pain, suffering or any negative issues. The question for each of us is simple. Do I want to live forever and am I willing to accept the Savior as my Redeemer with God and live as He asks us to do? Each of us must answer that questions for ourselves and the answer will determine our fate. God bless you all and have a blessed Lord's Day on this First Sunday of Advent.