Berean Blog

Random thoughts from a Doulos Theos (servant of God)

Location: Rocky Point, North Carolina, United States

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Back by semi-popular demand (at least three people)

It has been such an active past few months; I scarcely know where to start. I have spent a small amount of time on and Yahoo! 360, and have even begun a page on the newly released, but the lion’s share of my time has been occupied by work, with church and school coming in a distant second and third.

Work has been quite enlightening. As I deal with the public of New Hanover County, I am in awe on a near-daily basis at the multiplicity of ills that humans can inflict upon themselves and each other. It serves as a regular reminder of the ancient curse enacted by our first ancestors’ disobedience and the very modern need of mankind’s need for a Savior.

I am also occasionally frightened by the similarity between some of the calls I take and my previous life before coming to Christ nine years ago. It has become a weekly cause for humility and thanksgiving that “there, but for the grace of God, go I”.

Memorial Memories

With Memorial Day yesterday, I began to think of some of the fine warriors with whom I had the privilege to serve through the years. Two in particular came to mind; both were extremely young, one still in her teens and the other just beyond that point.

In this health-conscious society where the average life span is growing exponentially, we often choose to forget our true frailty and mortality. Even in the military sector, where death is a daily threat, it’s easy to shove those thoughts to the back of one’s mind, particularly in peacetime, during which both of these fatalities took place.


Ebonee was a precious girl, effervescent, vibrant and energetic. My favorite memory of her involves one particular day when she walked into my office during lunch break to discover me playing solitaire. She stood behind me for a minute before pointing out a card placement which I had overlooked. My response was an obviously rhetorical question, “What’s the name of this game?” to which she replied, “Let Ebonee hep yoo so’s yookin weeyun (Let Ebonee help you so you can win!)” It was such an unexpected and unconventional answer that I had to laugh, although unexpected and unconventional were her defining characteristics.

It wasn’t long after that, she took leave to drive home and make preparations for her wedding. From the police reports, she took a curve too fast and rolled her car several times, throwing her unbelted body through the open window and crushing her during one of its rotations. At her memorial service, I wept unashamed at the loss of such a truly beautiful young American.


Chris was as unique as his name was ordinary. A self-imagined pool shark who rarely won, he too, was full of the energy and ambition of youth. Barely into his third decade, he left our unit to be temporarily assigned to a shipboard unit bound for a six-month presence in the Mediterranean Gulf.

Halfway through the tour, Chris began to cough up blood, and was promptly returned Stateside, where he was examined at Portsmouth Naval Hospital in Virginia. (I have long held that particular hospital liable for many incompetent diagnoses, this case among them.) They ran some tests, which they determined in their folly to be inconclusive, and sent him back to our unit with instructions to seek further help at our Battalion Aid Station if his condition got worse.

As even the most medically ignorant could presume, it did in fact worsen. He was sent to the Naval Hospital at Camp Lejeune, and they were prepared to refer him back to Portsmouth. I urged Chris to request Bethesda Naval Hospital in Maryland instead, which he did. There at that first-class facility, they were able to determine in short matter that he had developed lung cancer in the Gulf; medical inaction had allowed the cancer to spread into both lungs. It was too late at that point to do anything but house him in a terminal cancer ward and await the inevitable. He died far too soon after that.

Where from here?

Thoughts of both of these young people yesterday coupled with my experiences at 911 to reinforce the foolishness of the presumption of longevity. We are on this earth for such a short time – some shorter than we would think equitable. Either way, we are confronted with the challenge of James 4:13-15:

Go to now, ye that say, To day or to morrow we will go into such a city, and
continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain:
Whereas ye know not
what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that
appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.
For that ye ought to
say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that.

Why? Because this life is merely preparation for what is to come. In light of eternity, our spans here on earth are less than a drop of water in the ocean!

Dear reader, if you have not settled this issue in your own mind and life, know for a certainty that none of us are immortal (in the conventional sense), and none of us have the power to presume upon tomorrow. Life is too short to merely exist, vainly hoping for some legacy or blindly searching for some reason or meaning.

Jesus Christ settled once and for all the mystery of eternal life. We all will live forever, but the question of where we go when we pass from the land of the dying into the land of the living is up to each of us. The resolution lies in how we respond to the source of all truth.

If you are reading this and are unsure of how to put this matter to rest in your own life, may I point out to you the link to the left entitled, “What Christ is all about”? Please visit that site, and if it leads you to a decision, I’d love to hear about it. Either way, please don’t put it off.