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Letter to a Dying Friend

Dear Morgan,

 

When I heard the news that you were dying, it hit me hard. Your love for life, people, and family has always impressed me. The friends we share are in shock too.

 

Of course, we’re all dying. Maybe not today or this year—but relative to eternity—someday soon all of us will take our last breath.

 

But I didn’t see this coming.

 

Not now.

 

Not you.

 

Not this soon.

 

I suppose it may seem a bit morose and dark to acknowledge the reality of our mortality while you’re struggling with cancer. But as Haruki Murakami once wrote, “Death is not the opposite of life, but a part of it.”

 

You and I know that we can’t avoid death. No matter how well we eat or live or how much attention we give to staying fit and healthy, eventually, everyone dies.

 

That being said, I ache when I think of this world without you. There will be a hole in the hearts of many when you are gone.

 

 

However, there is something else gnawing on my soul. And honestly, it is a question I should have asked you long ago: Are you ready?

 

I don’t mean ready for death. I doubt that any of us ever feels like we’ve done all that we could in this life or accomplished all of our dreams.

 

When I say ready I mean are you prepared for eternal life? Do you know, beyond a doubt, that your eternal destiny is heaven?

 

I recognize that there is a lot of debate nowadays about the afterlife.

 

Some think we simply cease to exist. For them, life on this planet is all there is and all that matters.

 

Some believe our eternal destination is determined by our works. They look at God like a celestial Santa who weighs our actions to decide if we’re on the naughty or nice list. Do more good than bad, and you’re okay. If not, you’re not.

 

Others believe that all men go to heaven. They can’t imagine a loving Father sending anyone to hell. (Of course, neither can I. I don’t think God sends anyone anywhere, including hell; rather we choose our destination. It’s up to us, and hell is one of our choices.)

 

Nevertheless, Morgan, as controversial as this issue may be, the Bible is, in fact, very clear.

 

All die, and all choose their eternal destination either by believing and receiving God’s gift of grace and forgiveness or by rejecting Him and His offer.

 

Jesus once said to a grieving friend, “I am the Resurrection, and I am Life Eternal. Anyone who clings to me in faith, even though he dies, will live forever. And the one who lives by believing in me will never die” (John 11:25-26).

 

The Apostle Paul, who wrote nearly half of the New Testament, made the path to our salvation clear as well:

 

For it was only through this wonderful grace that we believed in him. Nothing we did could ever earn this salvation, for it was the gracious gift from God that brought us to Christ! So no one will ever be able to boast, for salvation is never a reward for good works or human striving. (Ephesians 2:8-9, TPT).

 

 

So how does anyone get saved or know eternal life?

 

By believing and receiving.

 

We believe that Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life (John 14:6). We believe that He is the only one who can save us from our sins (Acts4:12). And we believe that He lives today, preparing an eternal dwelling for those who are His (John 14:2-3).

 

And then we receive. We embrace and accept, as a free gift, God’s offer of salvation by grace through faith.

 

Our salvation is never about what we do, but about what’s been done for us by Jesus through His death and resurrection.

 

Okay, Morgan, if you’re still reading this, thank you for your patience with me. But I have one more thing to say.

 

What if?

 

What if I’m wrong, and this whole “salvation by grace” thing is a ridiculous hoax? What do you potentially lose if you still choose to believe and receive Jesus as your Savior? Nothing. Absolutely nothing.

 

But what if I’m right? What if there is a path to eternal life but you reject it? What do you lose then? Everything. Absolutely everything.

 

My friend, I want to spend eternity with you. I want your kids and grandkids (who do believe) to be with you forever. That’s why I’m risking your anger to tell you how I feel.

 

 

For the record, I’m not asking you to “buy” eternal life insurance. I’m asking you—begging you—to consider the options and to choose wisely; to choose Jesus and life with Him (and me) forever.

 

What if God’s gift is yours for the taking and yet you refused it because you thought you knew better than God? How tragic would that be, my friend?

 

Now—especially now—what’s holding you back from saying yes to the Father?

 

Yes God, as You surrendered Your Son for me, I surrender my life to You. Yes Jesus, I accept what You did for me on that cross. Yes, I want to spend eternity with you.

 

What if I’m right, Morgan? If so, eternity with God (and your kids and grandkids) is at stake, and this is something worth thoughtfully considering.

 

 

Please know I am praying for you.

 

Please know that I love you, and all that I’ve written here is born out of that love.

 

But above all, know I long for you to belong to Jesus, now and forever because you chose to believe.

 

In His grace and hopefully yours,

 

 

 

 

 

 

P.S. Here’s one last thing to think about:

 

God loved the entire world—every tribe, tongue, and nation—so much that He sacrificed His very best, His one and only Son for us. Why? So that whoever believes in Jesus will never perish or need fear the wrath of God, but instead they will know the wonders and joys of eternal life with Him.  John 3:16, 36 (My Paraphrase)

 

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