A Life Well Lived

My family recently suffered the loss of my dear uncle who was battling pancreatic cancer. He wrote the family a letter a couple of weeks before his death; and, with the permission of my grandmother, I’m sharing his words with you.

To those I love,

I do not know what God has in mind for me with this illness, but I do know that “All things work together for the good of those who love and trust in Him.”; therefore, I am putting everything in His hands.

I have had people say to me, “You are sure to go to heaven because you treat everyone so well.” As if my by own goodness, I should be rewarded a place in heaven. Let me assure you, my own goodness has failed more often then not! But I am assured a place in heaven because of what Christ did for me over 2000 years ago. On an April morning in 1936, about one month before my 7th birthday, I asked Jesus Christ into my heart and accepted the grace offered through the blood of Jesus on Calvary’s Cross.

On June 14, 2013, when the doctor informed me of the serious nature of this illness, he said without treatment, I would have about three months to live; with tretment, possibly six months to a year. Being the eternal optimist I am, I hope maybe much longer. But if God so wills, I am ready anytime He calls. My desire has always been to live to be 100 years old. Now, I would just like to live long enough to help my friend Col. Stanley Hand celebrate his 100th birthday, and since that is less than five years away, maybe God will grant that wish!

I don’t know why God has chosen me to receive so many of His blessings, but let me assure you that I have been blessed beyond measure! First, He gave me to my parents, a couple who could have been extremely butter because of their early lives; but instead, they were a couple who loved and served God, and whose sweet dispositions blessed everyone around them. They loved their children and understood children so well. I had several friends from my youth tell me they would bring problems to my mother or dad because they would understand, but their own parents would not. When my oldest sister’s high school class held their 65th anniversary, they wrote letters to the class, and of the nine of her classmates who were there, some mentioned something that my mother had done for them. No other parents were mentioned in the nine letters.

I ha three beautiful and wonderful sisters and through them, seven nephews and one niece. I have loved them all very much and strongly feel their love for me. I used to wish I could have been nearer to my sister’s ages. My youngest sister was seven and a half years, middle sister was nine and a half years, and my oldest sister was thirteen years older than I. When they got up in age, I found out why God had spread us out, as I was able to help two of my sisters in ways I couldn’t have, had I been older.

As I grew up, God provided me with wonderful friends. In grade school, high school, college, service, and later in my work-a-day life, God always provided Christian friends. Here at our active living facility, I found a great friend, a former missionary, who has been so faithful through this illness to drive me back and forth for some treatments, and hospital visits.

We have only lived in our current location for a year now, but I have felt the warmth and caring so much from the people here. My wife said she wished she had started counting at the beginning of this illness how many people have told her that they were praying for me. We have had so many offer help in rides, chores and whatever, and Paul, my blind friend, has even offered money to help. This really brought tears to my eyes.

My greatest joy would be to see all those I love in heaven. God does not have a large scale where He weighs the good and the bad; and if the good outweighs the bad, we get to go to heaven. God’s criteria is perfection, and the only sure way to perfection is to put your trust in what Jesus Christ did on Calvary about 2000 years ago. The bible says “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you shall be saved.” I hope and pray everyone who reads this letter will do so.

Love,

Joe

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