ILLUSTRATION: BY LIFE OR BY DEATH
John Piper, in his book, “Future Grace”, reprinted a letter by Carl Lundquist, former president of Bethel College and Seminary. In 1988, the doctors told him he had a rare form of cancer which invaded the skin over his entire body and ended his life three years later. He wrote this letter the day after he heard the news of his cancer:
That day in the hospital room, I picked up my Bible when the doctor had left. I turned to the joy verses of Philippians, thinking one might stand out. But what leaped from the pages was Paul’s testimony in chapter one, "I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed but will have sufficient courage so that now, as always, Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or death. For to me to live is Christ and to die is gain."
I discovered that a verse I had lived by in good health also was a verse that I could live by in ill health. To live - Christ, to die - gain. But by life or by death, it’s all right either way ... So I simply trust that [God] in His own way will carry out for me His will which I know alone is good and acceptable and perfect. By life or by death. Hallelujah!