Before and After

Michael Spencer, also known as the Internet Monk (iMonk), is one of my favorite web writers on religion. He’s the campus pastor at a Baptist boarding school in Middle of Nowhere, Kentucky, but has built a strong following in the internet due to his writings over the past seven years. I picked up on him maybe 5 years ago and have been reading him ever since.

The iMonk, in his early 50s, was diagnosed with colorectal cancer last month. It had already spread to his brain and he had to have surgery on Christmas Eve to remove it. What a shock that one of my regular internet reads was diagnosed with the same thing I have, only two months later.

Which makes this essay of his, originally published in November 2009, even more remarkable. iMonk captured perfectly the strange “before and after” world those of us facing potentially fatal illnesses live in–even before his own diagnosis–and writes a compelling Christian response. Some select quotes:

Some of us are doing, for the last time, what we think we will be doing twenty years from now.

Some of us are on the verge of a much shorter life, or a very different life, or a life turned upside down.

Some of us are preaching our last sermon, making love for the last time, saying “I love you” to our children for the last time in our own home. Some of us are spending our last day without the knowledge of eternal judgment and the reality of God. We are promising tomorrow will be different and tomorrow is not going to give us the chance, because God has a different tomorrow entirely on our schedule. We just don’t know it today.

And the important part…

Live each day as the day that all of the Gospel is true. Live this day and be glad in it. Live this day as the day of laying down sin and taking up the glad and good forgiveness of Jesus. Live this day determined to be useful and joyful in Jesus. Live this day in a way that, should all things change tomorrow, you will know that the Lord is your God and this is the day to be satisfied in him.

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