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Chaplain: Preparing to Live

By Allen Teal, Chaplain

“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” John 10:10, NIV

In life, sometimes the possibility of death surrounds us. I grew up in the Vietnam War era. I still think about Dan Rather reporting from Southeast Asia every evening with the day’s casualty and death count. Shadows of an impending draft notice were my constant companions. I remember watching the sky in the days after 9/11 and feeling relieved that no planes were flying overhead. With COVID-19 lurking as I move among my neighbors and strangers while getting my necessities, I labor not to view each one as a viral threat to my existence. How do we find hope in the face of death?

Choose not to surrender to fear.

“Do not go gentle into that good night.” The poet Dylan Thomas penned these words when his father was dying. While death might be inevitable for each of us, we do not have to lie down and wait for it to arrive. Fear can rob us of meaningful living. Determine that you will live the best life possible in the midst of every circumstance.

Realize that death always waits nearby.

I have had friends and family die from gunshots, falls, car wrecks, and a myriad of other ways. Staying as safe as possible requires precautions. Once you have taken due care, the time comes to live your life. Very few people drive the car at the slowest speed possible because others have died in accidents. Being a prudent driver does not mean leaving the car in “park.” Living safely doesn’t mean that you must live in a bubble.

Trust God to protect you.

He sent his son to give you a full life. Begin each day by spending a few minutes in God’s presence, asking him for provision, power, and protection. Three scriptures highlight these requests:

  • Provision: “And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19, NIV).
  • Power: “For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline” (2 Timothy 1:7, NIV).
  • Protection: “For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways” (Psalm 91:11, NIV).
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