Uncle Mike

Tonight my mother and I went to a hospital in Tyler to visit her younger brother, my uncle, Michael.

Uncle Mike has struggled with chemical dependency for almost the entirety of his adult life. What started as “harmless” youthful experimentation quickly took hold and has held him in bondage ever since… at a dear cost.

He was once an exceptional athlete, charismatic, handsome, and naturally talented in a number of skills.

Drugs got him kicked off the team and expelled from school. Drugs came between him and a number of friends. Drugs cost him one job after another. Drugs ruined his marriage and estranged him from his own children. Drugs eventually got him thrown into prison, taking five years of his life.

My uncle is held captive in a dungeon of his own design, meticulously crafting the prison walls that keep him in utter darkness.

A recent foolish relapse, after a season of sobriety, brought him to the very precipice of death.

When the word came to me, I immediately sent forth word to my pastor and to the elders of my church…  I then contacted other friends and familiars, asking for prayers.

Unbeknownst to me at the time, my uncle’s doctors noticed a dramatic reversal in his condition. Prior to that moment, his condition was critical and he was unable to be transported. The thought was that it would be a miracle if he lasted the weekend. It just so happens that my LORD deals in miracles.

By the time the Sun rose this morning, Michael was eating an egg-white omelet. With his condition now upgraded to “stable” he hopes to go home sometime in the next day or so, once the results of some blood-work come back and his doctor gives him leave.

Perhaps it is just a coincidence, or a testament to the wonders of modern technology. Perhaps the initial assessment was exaggerated, or even mistaken. Perhaps not…

Tonight my mother and I went to a hospital to visit her younger brother, my uncle, Michael.

I spoke with him, and listened to his description of the events. Though he cannot articulate it, he knows that something happened…  he knows how close he was, and how suddenly he was brought back from the brink.

For the first time, his resistance to my exhortation and preaching of the Gospel was completely absent…  replaced with a broken and contrite heart. I told him of the forgiveness and mercy of his Creator, of the LORD that saved him from Death and would keep him from Hell.

There was wonder in his eyes and bitter tears of repentance, he knew…  he knew.

Uncle Mike has been gifted with that rarest of opportunities…  another chance. By all reckoning, he should dying (if not already dead) by now. Yet he lives.

It is said that “today is the first day of the rest of your life,” and that is true for every day except for one: the day you die.

O, but this is so for us all…  every day is another day to repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand!


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