Know Your Enemy
Pastor Steve Ellison
The past few weeks have been difficult for me. I saw enough tears to last me a lifetime (and shed a few of my own). My father has been very ill recently. I was not his primary care giver but I was heavily involved. I experienced things I never wanted to experience. I saw that which I had hoped to never see. Seven days ago, I drove him to a regularly scheduled doctor’s appointment, one to evaluate the effect of ten radiation treatments followed by one chemo-therapy treatment. He was admitted directly into hospice care on-site at the hospital. He passed away exactly 48 hours after arriving for the appointment. On the day that I drove him to the hospital, I intended to visit a man who was Dad’s lifelong friend and neighbor. He was in a different hospital in the same city. I am lifelong friends with that man’s children. I was too late. To make a long story short, I officiated two funerals last week, one of which was my own father’s and the other for our lifelong friend.
Psalm 23:4-6 says, “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You have anointed my head with oil; My cup overflows. Surely goodness and lovingkindness will follow me all the days of my life, And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” NASU These two men had a common enemy: Death. Both men faced this enemy with confidence because they had placed their faith in Christ, assuring themselves of adoption into God’s family for all eternity. Their names have been written in the Lamb’s Book of Life. Upon their deaths, they were ushered into the presence of God and the book was brought out. Their names were found and they took their places in heaven.
Each one of us has that same Enemy. We all face death. The statistic is that one out of one dies. Some people receive special grace in seeing death draw near like these two who were so dear to me. That serves as a warning. Others do not receive that special grace. Death strikes them seemingly without warning. Of course it is not without warning. They have already been warned. It simply comes at a time not expected. I did not pick up a newspaper and read all the obituaries this week, but I have done that in the past. What I found in my reading is that many people experience unexpected death, sometimes at a young age.
It is my hope and prayer that you will examine yourself making sure of your own relationship with God, ensuring that you indeed are a child of God, that you are on your way to heaven. If you have asked God to forgive your sins based on Christ’s sacrificial death on the cross, you have a relationship with Him. Also, let me encourage you to have a serious and in-depth conversation with your friends and loved ones about their eternal destiny. You never know when it will be too late. Waiting too late would be the greatest of all tragedies… ..…….…..firstname.lastname@example.org