There is no consensus on how long the average white male lives in America today, but sources on the internet suggest a range from seventy-two to seventy-seven. Since I turned sixty-eight yesterday, I probably will not live to see my great grandchildren graduate from elementary school. Alex, the oldest of four, will be two in December. And because of a medical history that includes obesity, congestive heart failure, and blood clots in my lungs, it is probably unlikely that I will make it to the average age. I have had heart problems for many years, and have made arrangements to donate my body to the University of Louisville Medical School. I have also taken the time to inform my daughters and their husbands about my life insurance policy and paperwork needed for the Navy and the Social Security Administration. I see myself as a realist, but they all think I am morbidly nuts. The common joke is "He's been talking about his pending death for years!" Because I have had such serious health problems, I am not trying to be morbid or melodramatic, I just care about leaving my wife and children prepared. Besides, it is my mother's fault. She is the one who taught me to pray, "Now I lay me down to sleep; I pray the Lord my soul to keep; if I should die before I wake; I pray the Lord my soul to take." Even the theology of that little prayer is wrong. If Jesus is really my Lord, I don't need to ask Him to take my soul when I die; He already has it!"
Looking back on my life, I am amazed that such an excellent athlete could become so feeble that he can't stand and sing an entire song in church. The years have traded weakness for strength. The Word of God teaches that I am finally where God wanted me all the time. He said, "My grace is sufficient for thee; for My strength is made perfect in weakness" (2 Cor 12:9). John said, "He must increase, but I must decrease" (Jn. 3:30). Today, I am clearly aware that whatever I am able to accomplish physically, is by the grace of God.
People say that "hindsight is 20/20." Most, if not all of us, would do things differently if we knew the consequences of our actions. But looking back at the disaster I made of my life with alcohol, violence, and pride, I still would not change a thing. Had I not experienced life as it was handed to me, I would have probably never met my wife. I would have never had a Navy pension. I would never have learned by making foolish mistakes. Instead, I could brag on how wise I was and because of my arrogant pride, never become aware of my need for a Savior. I regret causing pain and suffering to so many, but had I been a "good guy," I would not have realized that "There is none righteous, no, not one" (Rom. 3:10).
Regardless of how many hours, days, months, or years I have left, I will spend them praising the God Who created me, Who died for me, and Who has given me faith to trust in Him. I am decreasing, but I can assure you, in my mind and heart, He is continually increasing. To God be the glory, Amen.