Recently, I faced the deaths of three beloved people in two weeks–Zenaida Pineda, Randy Pepito, and Amihan Capao. Zenaida, 58, passed away due to complications of pneumonia; Randy, 59, to cardiac arrest; and Amihan, 50, to breast cancer. They died relatively young. They were close friends and family. Zeny was a vibrant Christian, a grace-giver. Randy was my brother-in-law, talking partner, and friend. Amihan was a sweet, strong woman full of faith in Christ.
Death is a robber. It robs us of joy. Death has robbed me of three people three times in two weeks.
Death is also a door. In Amihan’s final minutes, I told her, “Amihan, death is the door to the next room (heaven). We are on this side on earth. Jesus is on the other side in heaven. Death is the door that stands between heaven and earth. At death, we enter the door to the next room. There, Jesus is waiting for those who have trusted Him as Savior.”
Consequently, I learned five things about life because of death.
1. LIFE IS SHORT. DON’T WAIT UNTIL YOUR TIME IS UP. LIVE FOR GOD.
Check out the timeline in every tombstone in the cemetery. “Henry Trocino Jr., 1965 – ?” The short “dash” in-between the years refers to your lifetime. It’s that short.
1 Peter 1:24-25,
24 for “All flesh is like grass and all its glory like the flower of grass.
The grass withers,and the flower falls,
25 but the word of the Lord remains forever.”
2. LIFE IS GIVEN AND TAKEN BY THE LORD. DON’T ACT AS IF YOU OWN IT.
Job 1:21, “And he said, ‘Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return. The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD.'”
3. LIFE IS ONLY UP TO A POINT THAT GOD ALLOWS YOU TO LIVE. DON’T LIVE AS THOUGH YOU’RE THE ONE WHO DECIDES YOUR LIFE SPAN.
13 Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit”— 14 yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. 15 Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.”
4. LIFE IS PRECIOUS. DON’T WASTE IT.
C. T. Studd wrote, “Only one life. It will soon be past. Only what’s done for Christ will last.” This is a favorite quote of my father-in-law, Rev. Andres Pepito.
1 Thessalonians 5:5-8,
5 For you are all children of light, children of the day. We are not of the night or of the darkness. 6 So then let us not sleep, as others do, but let us keep awake and be sober. 7 For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk, are drunk at night. 8 But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, having put on the breastplate of faith and love, and for a helmet the hope of salvation.
5. LIFE IS A CHANCE TO SHOW YOUR LOVE FOR OTHERS. DON’T HIDE YOUR LOVE.
1 John 3:16-18,
16 By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers.
17But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him?
18Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.
Can you think of someone you love that you haven’t told, “I love you”? (e.g. father, mother, brother, sister, friend, brother in Christ, etc.). Tell him today and say, “I love you.” Show your love in many ways–by asking how things are going, by asking how you can pray for her, by listening, by inviting him for coffee, by sharing the Gospel, etc.
Can you think of a strained relationship with someone? Someone you haven’t forgiven? Tell her today that you value her, that you forgive her, and that you love her in the love of the Lord.
Don’t wait until the last minute. Life is too short for avoidable delays.