I wanted to die, by Walt and Sharon Hastings, Golden, CO

But God gives his people strength

Psalm 28:1, 8-9 I pray to you, O Lord, my rock. Do not turn a deaf ear to me. For if you are silent, I might as well give up and die. … The Lord gives his people strength. … O Lord, lead your people like a shepherd, and carry them in your arms forever.

Note: Walt is one of my husband David’s mentors. Walt and Sharon are members of our international mission team. Both Walt and Sharon fought cancer in 2020 and 2021.

On July 21, 2022, Walt wrote the following:

Just wanted to give you a brief update. Sharon is gone on a five-day cruise with our daughter Bethany and her two girls. They get back Friday afternoon. She left early Sunday morning, about the time I came down with a high fever and infection in my right leg. Yesterday I went to urgent care and was told to be hospitalized immediately. I’m at Sky Ridge hospital being treated for a severe case of advanced sepsis infection. I’m responding well to the treatment, and likely will be here several more days.

Sharon: “Several more days” turned into a pitched battle to save Walt’s life. It’s hard to remember what life was like before these last ten weeks. There was a fight with cancer, but it seems like a long time ago.

Walt: I was in so much pain in the hospital that if I had been given a choice, I would have chosen to go be with Jesus. My muscles atrophied so much that I couldn’t support myself even to stand up. I lost about 25% of my lower leg. I couldn’t bear to look at my leg wound because I would go into shock. My left leg seemed to be half the size of my other leg.

In the ICU I came to realize that the veil between this life and the next is very thin. I had a dream or vision or something in which I was in a dark spot and to my right there were three creatures I would call demons. On the other side beings of light called to me. I told the Lord I wanted to go home to be with him. And the Lord said no. I asked the Lord what he wanted me to do. He responded, “Be with people.”

Beings of light called to me” Shutterstock: Melitas

Sharon: We didn’t know if Walt would make it, but prayer on the night of the crisis call ended up trumping Walt’s wishes. We’ve stuck together through it all. We’ve grown close. I told God, “You don’t want Walt right now. He’s still not perfect. I need to work on certain areas in his life.”

Walt: When I went to the rehab hospital, I had serious doubts that I would ever walk again.

Sharon: We owe the physical therapist a case of beer. The doctors are impressed and surprised with how amazingly healthy Walt is.

Walt: One doctor said it’s amazing how God heals. Today, the two legs look almost the same size. There are at least three layers of skin. If the bacteria had gotten to the third layer which transports nutrients to the whole body, I would have been gone. The specialist who treated me said he loses about half of his patients who have this flesh-eating bacteria.

Sharon: I’m not teaching. I canceled all my classes to take care of Walt. I have no energy to think of anything else. I’m always thinking of how much protein Walt needs each day. Tomorrow’s skin graft surgery should be the last chapter of this. His knee froze with scar tissue. While he’s anesthetized for the skin graft, a surgeon will work on removing the scar tissue. Like Walt, I’m asking God what His purposes are.

My husband Dave on October 4: Today I had a terrific, life-giving mentoring session with Walt. I’m grateful he’s still here to “be with people,” including me.

All praise

But God names us his heirs

1 Peter 1:3-5 All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. By his great mercy we have been born again, because God raised Jesus Christ from the dead. Now we live with great expectation, and we have a priceless inheritance—an inheritance that is kept in heaven for you, pure and undefiled, beyond the reach of change and decay. And through your faith, God is protecting you by his power until you receive this salvation, which is ready to be revealed on the last day for all to see.

Psalm 16:5 Lord, you alone are my inheritance.

Sometimes I catch myself so looking forward to seeing Karis again and meeting our son Michael in Heaven that I have to ask myself, “Am I more excited about seeing Karis and Michael than you, Lord?”

He responds, “Don’t worry. It’s not either/or. It’s both/and! Forever!” I’m quite sure the glory of the Lord will be so overwhelming there will be no chance of lesser loves usurping his place.

Indeed, all praise belongs to him. Look at all Peter includes in these few lines as reasons for our praise. Great three-point sermon, Peter!

We have been born again. The Greek word is anagennao. It means a change from one state of being to another. It’s the word Jesus used in his conversation with Nicodemus in John 3 to describe spiritual rebirth. Peter uses it again twenty verses later: For you have been born again, but not to a life that will quickly end. Your new life will last forever because it comes from the eternal, living word (logos) of God (see John 1:1-5).

Because God raised Jesus Christ from the dead. Bodily resurrection to life after having been dead (anastasis) is God’s promise to us as well. Christ was raised as the first of the harvest; then all who belong to Christ will be raised when he comes back (1 Corinthians 15:23).

Bloom #6 of Dan and April’s wedding orchid’s rebirth delighted us on Karis’s birthday yesterday.

We live with great expectation. Indeed! Elpis means hope, looking forward to something with confident expectation. As each day speeds by and I see old age on the horizon (still very distant, of course), this is huge reason for praise. Our spiritual salvation—what we experience now—will one day express itself in new bodies that neither sicken nor sorrow nor age nor die.

We have a priceless inheritance. Here on earth, our bodies “keep the score” of the abuses and traumas we suffer. In Heaven, our new bodies will register the delight of unspoiled LIFE, beyond the reach of change and decay. Won’t it be fun to see the people who have gone before us as their true selves, healed from what they suffered—and inflicted on others—here on earth?!

It’s (almost) enough to be happy about growing older, if that’s what it takes to receive our inheritance.

All praise to God!

As I’ve written this post, a dear friend sits with a close friend of hers in the sacred transition space between earth and Heaven. I thought I would post again on Monday, but to honor this moment, I’ll go ahead to post it today.

And the first bloom on the other stem popped open today. I’ll dedicate this one to my friend who stands on holy ground this morning.