What Happens When We Prepare to Meet Our Maker?

“McCain has Stage 4 brain cancer and has been absent from Washington since before Christmas. He is not expected to be on Capitol Hill this week. Sponsoring this immigration measure is a stark departure from McCain’s aggressive stance on border security.”

I’m struck by this story about a generous and bipartisan plan regarding undocumented immigrants proposed by Senator John McCain (R-Arizona) and Senator Chris Coons (D-Delaware).  Once upon a time Senator McCain was less tolerant towards “Dreamers.”  But his time is more precious now and there’s a final legacy to establish.  And he wants to get past this so that Congress can move on to other things like benefits for our troops.  Apparently he has decided that – in these last weeks/months/years he will be more merciful towards those he has more harshly judged before.

My family has observed this up close and personal.  Although Dad was a fundamentally generous man, he spent his last weeks with terminal cancer offering some surprisingly tolerant statements about issues he had been less tolerant about before.  He was going to be meeting his Maker soon and he wanted God to be as forgiving as he was suddenly willing to be.

The reality of certain death changes everything.

Although I do not wish President Trump ill, I wonder what would happen if – today – he was diagnosed with Stage 4 cancer.  How would his policies change, knowing that the end of his life was unequivocally in sight?  Would he spend his time ensuring that his loved one’s inheritances were iron clad?  Would he be kinder on Twitter?  Would he suddenly change his words about immigrants, refugees, women, the poor, and other “losers”?   Would he have an authentic Come To Jesus moment?  My hope is that he would become kinder and more merciful.

We are all called to repent – not just so we’ll get a ticket to heaven – but because it’s the way God created this world to be here and now (as well as in heaven.)

My prayer is that Senator McCain experiences deep love both now and eternally.  He has already experienced deep hell in this life.  But in the meantime, I’m grateful he seems to be willing to show lavish mercy on this side of the grave.

Are we the kind of people who need a terminal prognosis to do justice, love kindness, and walk humbly?  I hope not.


Image is of Dean Smith‘s new gravestone in the old Chapel Hill Cemetery which quotes  Micah 6:8 .  The LORD requires us  “to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God”  To the left is a detail from the top of the stone. courtesy of RME.  March Madness is soon upon us.  Another reason to live.

One response to “What Happens When We Prepare to Meet Our Maker?

  1. We had a narcissist in the family, on my husband’s side, that lived to be very old. She never changed, right up to death’s door. As a matter of fact, narcissists become more inward thinking as death approaches and tend to do even more despicable deeds.


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