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Reflections: Half-past dead

Some friends at church asked me to describe my near-death experience.

I light-heartedly told about traveling through a long tunnel, seeing light at the end and, suddenly, a heavenly figure bathed in glorious light. Soon I recognized St. Peter standing at the gates of heaven.

He reached for my hand and said, “Welcome home, my brother.” The next thing I remember was a bumpy ambulance ride.

I’d never been in an ambulance. Maybe all of them need an alignment, tire rotation and balance. Or maybe it’s the backroads in our county that need repair. A nice lady behind me kept saying, “Mr. Brooks, how are you feeling?” I really didn’t know how to respond. I was still wondering what planet I was on. We got to the emergency room where I spent the next three hours.

My wife said she found me in the floor early Saturday morning unresponsive. 911 sent what she called “five strapping Pelham firefighters” who started an IV and put me on a gurney and thrust me into the waiting ambulance.

Tests ruled out flu and COVID. The doctor said it was norovirus. Fever and dehydration made me pass out, he said. He sent me home with orders to drink fluids and rest for several days. And it did take five days to get better.

Some capable people took care of Sunday and Wednesday responsibilities for me; now I’m guardedly optimistic I’ll live a bit longer.

This experience made me appreciate wonderful medical staff who were so professional and caring. I didn’t get the name of the nice lady riding with me in the ambulance since I would like to thank her.

But it also reminded me of a Steven Seagal movie, “Half-Past Dead.” Basically, we all are, according to Scripture. The Bible declares “our times are in God’s hands” and “it is appointed to every man once to die.” I’ve often said at funerals that there’s a red-letter day on God’s calendar as far as we’re concerned–the day of our death.

We’ve been walking through Genesis lately in mid-week study. A few weeks ago we examined the familiar story of Joseph foretelling dreams in prison. Joseph told the cupbearer he had three days before his release, but told the baker he had three days to live.

I suggested it probably would be a good thing to know if we had only three days to live. I think we’d likely make some visits or phone calls to people we love, and to people we should’ve loved.

But no one of us knows the hour of death.

That’s why we must get right with God this morning, and then get right with everybody else this afternoon.

“Reflections” is a weekly faith column written by Michael J. Brooks, pastor of the Siluria Baptist Church in Alabaster. The church’s website is siluriabaptist.com.

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