I was enjoying my first cup of coffee one morning, when I read Proverbs 10:5, which is about living life wisely. Suddenly, I found myself in deep reflection about the seasons of life. I decided that I’m in a season of preparation.
Some would say I’m in the “twilight years,” the time when people look back on their lives as a whole, with the recognition that their journey, at some point, must end. Everyone dies—no matter how closely we walk with the Savior and how faithfully we serve Him, we will still pass through the valley of death before we reach our eternal home.
What stirred me to this revelation? I had recently stood at the bedside of a friend who was nearing death. It had been a while since I’d seen him last, and he had withered dramatically in stature.
The murderous effects of cancer had turned his skin and eyes a pale yellow. The doctor had just brought him his biopsy results and informed him that he had somewhere between 30 and 90 days to live.
He looked at me through those jaundiced eyes and said, “I’m not buying it. God can still heal me. But if He chooses to take me, I’m ready to go.”
This was a man who had lived and breathed Jesus. I learned so much from him throughout our years of friendship. He could hardly talk about anything other than his most recent revelations from God. He was a faithful Christ-follower, and his faith and wisdom profoundly affected me. It was tough to see him in such a reduced physical state.
I had my guitar with me, and I sang a couple of his favorite songs. Tears filled his eyes as he listened intently to the words of “You’ll Never Walk Alone,” and “I Can Only Imagine.” Then, as if God had spoken to him, he turned to me and said, “We’ll be praying for you in heaven.”
This man had seemed invincible to me. He was a solid, passionate disciple of the Lord Jesus who loved prison ministry and the men he had discipled behind prison walls. I had witnessed miraculous changes in countless lives through his teaching and training in the Word of God.
Before I left, I kissed his forehead and told him I loved him. The tears flowed again. As I turned to leave, he said, “Tell our friends in prison I love them.” He went on to meet Jesus shortly after this visit.
My friend was a wise man who recognized the importance of the last season of his life. He knew where he would spend eternity, but his heart remained burdened for souls that needed to hear the Good News of Jesus until his last breath. He understood that many people still needed to know the love of their Savior, Jesus Christ, who had died for them. He also wanted them to know He loved them.
Hebrews 12:1 tells us to “strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us” (NLT). My friend’s life was the embodiment of this verse.
I’m 74 now. I’m in the later years, I know, but God still has a race for me to run. To do so, I must continually shed my earthly desires and pleasures. Thankfully, God offers His divine strength to help me shift my focus from satisfying my flesh to pleasing my Lord and loving His people.
I pray that I will remain courageous in my faith and, like my friend, continue to fight the good fight to finish the race God has set before me (2 Timothy 4:7). I will remind people they are loved to the very end. I hope you’ll do the same, no matter what season of life you’re in.
KENNY MUNDS takes the good news of God’s love and forgiveness into prisons across America. To learn more about his ministry, go to kennymundsministry.org.