A few years back I was in the woods behind my home raking pine straw for my flowerbeds. I felt a burn on my leg, and then another.
All at once I realized I had stirred up a yellow jacket nest. I sprinted as fast as I could toward my house, and quickly jumped into the shower. All totaled there about 10 stings on my back and legs.
It was close to 90 degrees that day, and I was already tired. I have to admit that I was quite winded by the 50- to 70-yard dash that I had just run. The cool water on my legs and back was welcome, but I was still breathing rather hard.
I remembered back to a time (when I was about 18) that I was stung twice on the arm by a red wasp. In less than an hour I found myself in the emergency room of our local hospital with red splotches all over my body, and truly struggling to breathe. Up to that point in time I had never really thought much about dying. But on that day I was afraid. I was having a hard time breathing until the doctor gave me a shot that provided almost immediate relief.
On the day of the yellow jacket stings, I began to wonder: Am I going to have the same reaction this time? We live quite a distance from any hospital. I had an EpiPen. But I had never been forced to use it. Would it work? Would I remember how to use it properly?
As it turns out, I am clearly not allergic to yellow jacket stings in the same way as to those of a wasp. I caught my breath again, and while the sting marks itched for a couple of days, they were not much more than an annoyance.
Even so, on that day not that long ago, I pondered death. My first thoughts were for my wife and sons. I thought of my dad, my church and many of my friends. As a Christian, I’m not afraid to die. And yet I long to live here as long as the Lord will allow.
God gave us the lives we have. He has given us the natural urge to live. And we have longings to enjoy life. Those, too, are God-given.
Those who know Christ need not fear death, but we should desire to live to the fullest as long as we have breath. Jesus said, "I have come that you might have life, and have it more abundantly."
I pray for you that abundant life. May God grant it in his great mercy.