The Time of the End Is Just The Beginning

5 min read
09 Sep

August 20th, 2021, our 33 year wedding anniversary found me drowning in Lake Michigan. Being a weak swimmer, I underestimated the power of that huge lake holding me in place. No matter how fast I doggy paddled, I was stuck between sand bars. I remembered being told if I ever got caught in this predicament, just float on my back until I'm safe again. 

I tried and it didn't work. I wasn't able to keep my face up and out of the water. My lungs were nearing the end of their capacity to function without oxygen. And I didn't have Laura, my spin instructor, there to tell me how much longer this "interval" would last. 

With no time or energy left, panic took over cognitive reasoning. I started breathing in lake water as I couldn't hold my breath any longer or control the gulps my body was demanding, desperate for air. Extending my toes forward, praying as hard as I could, "please God, let me be able to stand up and breath!" After all seemed lost, my toes made contact with flimsy sand. With my face barely breaking water, I choked, cried, gasped and panicked, all while my friend spoke affirming words, from a wee bit away, less I pull her down with me.  

My husband, Rob of 33 years, watched this all unfold from the shore line. Seeing his bride in peril, he dove into the water, full speed ahead! David Hasselhoff ain't got nothin on my man! My friend said, "See, look... here comes Rob, everything is going to be okay. Just calm down, breath... you're gonna be okay!" 

I thought about my predicament. Were my feet on solid ground? Check. Was I getting oxygen in my lungs, albeit haggard and haphazardly? Check. Do people now see me and know I need help? Check. Okay, so calm down. Pull it together. I mentally took a snapshot of my wonderful man swimming as fast as he could. Just in case I need to remember at a later date that he loves me. My guess is I'll need a reminder when we're fighting over who left the milk out or lost the tv remote. You know, the real struggles in marriage. LOL 

So the water I took into my lungs caused pain that kept waking me through the night. This event triggered other past experiences I've had dealing with no oxygen. I come from an abusive childhood where I was strangled once and suffocated twice. Not being able to breath has a unique panic, not easily forgotten. I went to that dark place in my brain where all I can say is it feels like an overwhelming doom that won't go away! Realizing I do NOT have my house in order, multiplied the anxiety further. 

I need an "In Case Of Death" Folder. Inside will be bank information, insurance policy's, my aunt's estate and other financial responsibilities. Also a last will and testament along with a "do not resuscitate" order, maybe. Pets schedules and Vet information, along with instructions of who needs to be called. I'd like to write a letter to each of my loved ones, to prove, you can speak from beyond the grave. 

I have junk drawers so full of junk I'd hate for someone else to have to clean them. My closets have way to much stagnate items needing to go to new homes and the basement is a mess. We have all my aunts belongings downstairs as well as a lot of my deceased father-in-laws stuff. Seriously, we need an estate sale but I keep thinking she might be coming back here to live and I'll need her "stuff". 

So as we continue in this "New World Order" of mandates, vaccines and lockdowns, I must take the time and energy to make this folder. To ease the incredible difficulty for whoever has to fill in for me, should I tap out. 

One week later, August 27th, 8:20am my phone rings. It was my mother-in-law, so frantic I had to ask her to repeat herself three times. Finally, she got me to understand, "Jonathon's...  dead...". 

"We're on our way!" and I hung up the phone. 

Twelve days later is today. There's nothing okay about this. My brother-in-law was so young! Not yet 40 yrs old. And all the pain, the questioning why. Such a tremendous loss for our whole family. Most of all, Jon. That's it for him. No more sunrises. No more sunsets. No more chances to have better days. No swimming in Lake Michigan for him, and I bet he was a way better swimmer then me.

Jonathon had just started a new job and made new acquaintances. He was ordering important items on line that he designed personally. He expected to be alive to use these things, right? So what happened?

Mom found him. She thought he hit his head. 911 was called and first responders were on their way. There would be an investigation but no answers provided. We just don't know if this was intentional. 

I first met Jonathon before he had teeth! Such a sweet happy baby. The most beautiful little guy you could imagine. A smile that went from ear to ear and he displayed it often. A happy and jovial baby with an older sister of two years who adored him. A momma and a daddy who loved him so much. But then years would unfold and in our fallen world, full of fallen people, fallenness would do what fallenness does and it took its toll on Jon. Now, grown, Jon's beautiful smile would be seen less and less. But not never. He had such a funny sense of humor and huge heart for others. He loved his mom fiercely and gave freely to those less fortunate around him.  

Alcohol would find it's way into Jon's coping mechanisms. We come from families who appreciate a "cold one" so alcohol is never very far from any of us. Alcohol promises the world and yet delivers misery. Well misery if you let it master you. 

Generations gone before, have had their go with it. Alcohol seems to imprint on families DNA. It passes down from one generation to the next. I think the Bible says it can influence to the third and fourth generations. (While blessings influence a thousand generations, thank you Lord) 

Did he realize he was sparring with Russian Vodka again, another go around this mountain? Jon was a good man. A caring and kind man. He didn't judge people who made mistakes and were thigh high in consequential alligators. Instead he'd help. He would do whatever he could. These grateful folks would be there at his funeral, grieving deeply with his family.

And then there were the people who loved him. So many came to bid farewell. Some drove over four hours. Family flew across the country. Many local friends. What a wonderful group of people. Many stepped up, provided food, chores, chairs and anything that was needed. A genuine community of ragamuffins. I use the term "ragamuffins" with endearment. Hurt, wounded and grieving Jon's loss left us all anemic, exhausted and downcast. I'm reminded of Brennan Manning's famous book, The Ragamuffin Gospel. If I remember correctly it's all about God's grace and mercy. Book description says:

We come to Him as ragamuffins--dirty, bedraggled, and beat-up. And when we sit at His feet, He smiles upon us, the chosen objects of His "furious love."  

If only Jon really knew how much God loves him, I wonder if he would have had a stronger fight. I heard quiet whispers say there were two Jon's. One we all knew and loved. And one who would go into a dark, dark place. A place were the enemy of his soul would tell him he was no good and everyone would be better off if he wasn't here. I wonder if he was listening to that voice when this happened? If only he would have let the call go to voice mail. If only he didn't get caught between sand bars... 

Back-to-back Fridays I looked death in the face. I'm somber and humbled because of it. Amazing grace how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me, I once was lost but now I'm found, was blind but now I see. 

Since COVID19 began January 2020, my firm footings have becoming increasingly more wobbly. 

Yet I blog to convince God exists and cares about us personally. I use Biblical texts as proof what I'm saying is true. 

Then real-time death happens and the rug is pulled out from under my feet. I'm rendered a blubbering idiot who can't even put on her own life jacket, let alone help someone else with theirs. Oye vay...

When will we die? Will we die on a slab of freeway cement or in a nursing home bed? Who knows. What about the rapture? The Bible says that those alive will be taken up into the clouds, never having to taste death. I hope to be in that group. Even though I've tasted death a few times now, I keep spitting it out.

Transitioning to Biblical text, I fully admit I don't know if the rapture will happen in my life time. But it doesn't matter. Time is God's business. My business is to partner with Him to sound the alarm of shorter days. The age of grace is no longer needed for the dead or the raptured. I pray you make a decision to qualify for eternal life with God, not apart from Him. If you really knew how much He loves you, you would want to be with Him, forever. Yes you, the sinner you are.

Admit your a sinner, (fancy Christian word for one who makes mistakes) Believe Jesus came to earth to pay the penalty for those mistakes and accept His death to cover you. And start committing your life to the Lord. Confess with your mouth and believe in your heart Jesus Christ Is Lord and you will be saved. 

Daniel is a book in the Old Testament of the Bible. It has twelve chapters and many verses per chapter. Frequently the sentences are considered verses and in numerical order. So when I reference Daniel 12:1-4, find the book of Daniel, go to the last chapter of that book and start at the beginning, reading until you see the small 5, indicating verse 4 is finished.

Daniel 12: 1 says: “At that time Michael, the great prince who protects your people, will arise. There will be a time of distress such as has not happened from the beginning of nations until then. But at that time your people—everyone whose name is found written in the book—will be delivered. 

Daniel 12:2 says: Multitudes who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake: some to everlasting life, others to shame and everlasting contempt. 

Daniel 12:3 says: Those who are wise will shine like the brightness of the heavens, and those who lead many to righteousness, like the stars for ever and ever. 

Daniel 12:4 says: But you, Daniel, roll up and seal the words of the scroll until the time of the end. Many will go here and there to increase knowledge.” 

This is prophetic, meaning it hasn't happened yet. This is our future and no one knows exactly when this is going to happen. It could be tomorrow or another 1,000 years. 

Did you notice in verse 1 it says, "everyone whose name is found written in the book - will be delivered"? That's the book I blogged about in the post titled, The Book of Life. If your name is found in the book of life, you will be delivered from death. The second death. 

The Bible teaches that it is counted on to man once to die and then the judgement. 

We don't get the option to no longer exist once our physical body dies. We don't get to claim ignorance because God will make sure you get the opportunity to hear the gospel message. Jesus Himself has been visiting Muslims in dreams. Who was that mysterious man in their dream? The journey begins...

They miraculously had an encounter with the true God and salvation is secured. The Holy Spirit is left as a security deposit of sorts. A promise God will return and bring them home when it's their time or "The Time". The Holy Spirit is also referred to as the Spirit of Truth. This entity helps discern truth from propaganda. We must have Him to help us navigate in this Brave New World. 

Well, I'm going to wrap up this week, belated as it is, out of pure emotional exhaustion. The days are getting increasingly evil and shortening all at the same time. I will pray for you to contemplate the salvation message imbedded in this post, if in fact your soul is yet to be secured in Christ. Please leave me a message if you'd like to talk. All the messages have to be approved by me to be seen and you can simple put, don't make this public and I will honor that. Leave me your contact information and we can talk some more. 

Until next week I pray God find you looking for Him. Be willing to risk everything so you don't loose the most important thing you own, your soul. And by all means, for God's sake, don't get stuck between sand bars! Much love and hugs.... Tracy 

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