Life Sentence or Death Sentence?

by Marilyn Ehle

“Seek the Lord and live… “ Amos 5:6

Last evening I talked with a man who had just received a death sentence. Doctors recently announced that a person with his condition lives, “on average,� five years from the point of diagnosis. A vague verdict at best. Out of fifty people, ten may live five years. Science cannot accurately predict the life span of the other forty.

This man and his wife have already walked through some of life’s most turbulent waters, losing their only son. All their hopes and dreams died when the vibrant boy dropped dead of unknown causes while dribbling a basketball on their patio when he was only eight years old. And now this.

Did Henry just receive a death sentence? Most of us would see it that way, but in our conversation Henry continually used phrases like “I am so blessed,� “God is so good,� “I’m so excited about what God is doing.� This does not sound like a man living under the cloud of impending death.

Erwin McManus writes, “Is your goal how long you will live or that you will live?â€?* We were created for life, and death is an interruption originally brought about by sin. But even death has been redeemed by the work of Jesus Christ. Christians are familiar with the words, “O death, where is your sting?â€? and Eugene Peterson vividly captures that truth in this paraphrase: “Death swallowed by triumphant Life! 
Who got the last word, oh, Death?  Oh, Death, who’s afraid of you now?â€? (1 Corinthians 15:5)

Henry is choosing to transform a death sentence into a life sentence as he and his wife triumphantly walk with their ultimate Victor, seeking to live.

Father, thank you not only for life, but for the power you provide to live with triumph.

*Seizing Your Divine Moment

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