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  • Writer's pictureMark Alan Williams

Don’t Spit Me Out!

What Will You Be Saying?

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One of the strangest experiences I’ve ever had was when a relative was in a Board and Care home in the last months of life. Her body was shutting down, including her mind.

Gwen’s husband Bob, Gwen and Carolyn (my wife and Gwen’s sister) in 1995. Gwen died June 1, 2007.

Though she was barely able to communicate, we wanted to visit and assure her of our love, even if she couldn’t recognize it.

But when we saw her, though barely able to communicate, she said one of the strangest things. She looked me in the eye and said, “Don’t spit me out.”

It was out of the blue, and I struggled at the time to find meaning in what she was saying. Actually it was later on that I began to realize the significance of what she said and what was happening.

Here is what I figured out: She had a Christian background but had wandered away or backslidden most of her adult life. But part of her Christian training was coming back to mind, perhaps a part that had haunted her for quite some time.

She was apparently recalling the words of Revelation 3:15-16, “I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot! So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth.” (ESV)

Knowing who I was and the Lord I represented as a pastor and missionary, she was beginning to see the other side and hoping she was in God’s good graces. Apparently she was hoping that her salvation was secure, that her eternity would be in heaven and not in hell.

At about that same time Carolyn’s sister Gwen, at age 57, was dying of cancer. We spent some special times together towards the end of her life and at one point she shared with us how death was changing her perspective on life.

Gwen was an awesome example of a positive transition to the other side (death!).

Here are two things I learned from Gwen, the opposite of “don’t spit me out:”

01. How unimportant “stuff” is in the long term!

Gwen shared how insignificant possessions, money, power, accolades and other earthly things had become. From a practical perspective, this makes perfect sense, right? She knew that in a few months, weeks or days, her car would be meaningless, her retirement plan would be useless, her house would be occupied by others.

It was a great reminder of how the stuff we often get so wrapped up in is really of very limited value from a long-term perspective.

What is important? Jesus said, “For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul?” (Mark 8:36 ESV)

02. Death is a “friend” for those who know Jesus Christ personally.

Gwen also shared that there was something that had become exceedingly valuable to her—it was her relationship to Jesus that had deepened as a result of her cancer and impending death.

This deepening of her walk with Jesus was so valuable to her that she testified she was actually grateful for her cancer because of how it had brought a much more intimate walk with Jesus.

That, my friends, is profound! Reminds me of the words of Paul, “For me to live is Christ and to die is gain.” (Philippians 1:21 ESV)

So there we have it—one person facing death saying “don’t spit me out.” (Who knows the agony of her soul?) The other family member saying, “I am grateful for dying because it has brought me so close to Jesus.” Wow!

I wonder on which end of this spectrum you and I will be. The fact is, we are all facing death…we just don’t know how soon. Perhaps like these two we will have some kind of run-up that let’s us know what is coming and gives us a chance to reflect.

My question for you and me then is, will we be saying “don’t spit me out” or will we be saying, “how wonderful I am dying because it is bringing me closer to the Lord I will be spending eternity with!”

I hope you will be saying the latter. 

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