Facing Death Head On

Editor’s note: This was written back in May before all the events of the last month or so.  Little did I know how close that I would come to going off into eternity.  This gives you some idea of the lessons that I have learned through the last few months.  May this encourage you to value each day and each relationship.

Facing Death Head On

Every one of us will have the opportunity to look death “right in the face” at least once in our life, unless we die in a sudden auto accident, gunfire, or other non natural causes. For most people this would come late in life right before the end.  For some of us, who are more fortunate, we are able to have a trial run at facing death and going out into eternity.  I was able to have that opportunity eleven years ago.  I had been taking steroids for five years for my disease.  Unknown to me the medication had caused ulcers which led to internal bleeding.  I lost 30% of my blood and had to be evacuated by fixed wing aircraft to a hospital from a small lake community to a large hospital in Oklahoma City.  As I lay on the cold hard emergency room table at 2 a.m. in the morning, I did not know if the medical staff would be able to stop the bleeding or if I would live to face the morning.  My two daughters were at my side.  My wife, Davidene, was traveling to be with me by car with friends.  I can only tell you that a tremendous spirit of peace came over me.  I was ready to go and be with the Lord or stay with my family.  Since that day I have never feared death again.

The last couple of months I have had this opportunity again.  My disease, which had been in remission for ten years, returned and impacted my lungs by destroying the cartilage in my bronchial tubes.  The damage was done over the period of a year, narrowing the airways and reducing the breathing capacity of my lungs by 90%.  So, a pulmonary specialist will implant stents into my passageways in order to help my breathing.  This will only be effective in the long run if we are able to stop the aggressive destructive nature of the auto immune disease (Relapsing Polychrondritis).  If God does not heal me or allow the physicians to find the right medication, then the lack of breathing capacity will eventually lead to my death.  We will ALL die sometime, but some of us will die sooner than later.  My grandmother lived 105 years, so I have really good genes.  However, a disease like this can go against my inherited “long life” genes and cut my lifespan.

So, I realize that I may not live another thirty years.  This has allowed me to have some very serious discussions with my wife, children, and extended family.  I have had numerous talks with close friends face to face or by phone about life and death and facing eternity. People are encouraged to say things that they have never taken time to say.  Friends are able to say thanks, offer appreciation, and perhaps mend relationships. I have been able to make sure that my financial, estate, and professional affairs are all in the proper order.  When you know that your time on earth may be brief, then you have a great sense of urgency and priorities.  You want to make sure you do the important things and take time for relationships.  All the trivial parts of life suddenly fade in the background. All of these things have happened to me in the last few weeks. In fact, I have been able to live much of my life the last ten years with urgency and priorities because of that experience eleven years ago.  It was healthy experience, not a bad one.  I would not have chosen that one or this one, but God can use them for the good in our lives and those around us.

This also causes us to consider our relationship with God and our eternal destiny.  It has really bothered some people that I have had so little apprehension.  I just have such FAITH in God that HE is in charge.  I understand His Love, His Power, and His Sovereignity.  Therefore, I KNOW that I am in His hands, He has my best interest at heart, so I have NO fear.  David in Psalm 23 says of this time, “Even when the way goes through Death Valley, I’m not afraid when you walk at my side. Your trusty shepherd’s crook makes me feel secure.” (MSG) We read in Psalm 46:1-2, “God is a safe place to hide, ready to help when we need him. We stand fearless at the cliff-edge of doom, courageous in sea storm and earthquake.” One of my favorite verses in the Bible comforts me, “Don’t panic. I’m with you. There’s no need to fear for I’m your God.” (Isaiah 41:10).  Finally God reminds me that He is watching closely over me at all times.  “Don’t be afraid, I’ve redeemed you. I’ve called your name. You’re mine.” (Isaiah 43:1).

I do not know how my current situation will turn out.  Unless God chooses to heal me, then I know that I am facing a long road of medication, treatments, and procedures if the disease continues its aggressive stance.  However, I do know who holds my future in His hand. He has proven His love for me.  I am ready to go at any time to spend eternity with Him or to stay here with my family for a few more years.  Either way I WIN.  What about you?  Someday you will probably sit in my situation.  I would encourage you at that time to reach out to God.  Have those dialogues with your family and close friends.  In fact, why not start those conversations right now?  Do not be afraid, but choose to face death head on.  And I pray that you will find the same peace that I have found because of my relationship with Jesus Christ.  He achieved victory over death and allows me share eternity with Him.

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About kenthumphreys
Kent Humphreys has been a business leader for over forty years. He also served as CEO of FCCI/Christ@Work for six years and now serves as their worldwide ambassador, speaking, writing, and mentoring young leaders. He continues to be active in distribution, private equities, and real estate. Kent and his wife Davidene have written six books together. They have three children and eight grand-children.

7 Responses to Facing Death Head On

  1. Danna says:

    You continue to encourage us, big brother! Thank you for leading the way – we’re all sure to follow and your words of trust and hope are a light to us all. Love you! Danna

  2. Dan & Comfort Ndangason says:

    Welcome back to the blog Uncle Kent!

    We thank God that with Him a day is like a thousand years and a thousand years like a day, 2 Peter 3:8. We believe Him that by His grace you will fulfill your desired impact to your familiy, community and the nations.

    We keep praying for His complete work of healing that He has begun in your life.

    Much love from us all.

    Dan & Comfort.

  3. gib Bush says:

    kent, thank you for these words of wisdom. You do continue to be a great encouragement to us. As I read this I was reminded just how true they are. I experienced it with Scott’s passing almost two years ago. I was reminded just how fragile life is. We never know what tomorrow brings for us or our loved ones or friends. When Scott passed there were things left unsaid. It has caused me to look at life differently, especially the relationships with my family. You are one of my heroes in the faith because of your continued investment in my life. Thank you for allowing us to share in your challenges through our prayers. You Brother in Christ.

    Gib

  4. Don Perryman says:

    Now thats a headline that will get you attention. I too am facing death one day at a time, not as dramatically as you so far but its coming. I’m faced with Emphysema and Pulmonary Fibrosis both with no cure or effective treatment. I’ve had my hemet grazed and creased by a 30 cal. I had a soldier try to empty a full clip but all miss fired. It gives one a different outlook. Thank you for the encouragement. Have fun at the lake and in Colorado. Praying for you and a miracle. Love Don

  5. Neal & Frecia Johnson says:

    Kent and Davidene,

    I hope our earlier blog entry made it on — an error note at the end left us wondering 🙂

    In any event, let me repeat how overjoyed we are with the progress you are making, Kent, and how gratified we are with the great strength you are displaying, Davidene. These are truly tough timew for you both, but we know taht the Lord has amazing things for both of you to do in the coming years–and that this season of your lives will pass into one of peace again.

    We have moved from Seattle back to our home in Newport Beach, California, to be close to our two children and 5 grandgirls. If you ever come this way, know that you always have a place to stay. Would love to see you and show you around this beautiful area!

    enjoy your time in Colorado and know that we continue to pray for you and to cheer you on!

    Much love,

    Neal and Frecia

  6. Cathy Westm says:

    Dear Kent,
    You titled your blog “Facing death head on” – it was more like a full body slam!Just thinking of this journey & how He has been living within and so lovingly embracing you, reminds me to sing of His love forever. There’s no doubt you know Christ holds each inhale & exhale of life. May all of us continue to lift you & your beautiful wife up in prayer and together sing (loudly & at the top of our lungs) the child’s song “He’s got the whole world, in His hands” with total unabashed passionate zeal. He covers all of us with His amazing love… you just happen to know this fact so much better than most. Moving forward, may we all be inspired by your spirit led urgency to calm the world’s frictions by simply living within His amazing love… & sharing true love forward with sincerity. Your smile & inspiration says it all. Glory to God!

  7. Abbie Pitman Parker says:

    Kent I sure love you! You are such an amazing man! I am fortunate to know you…! Here I am at 35 and I have been told unless I have surgery for pre-breast cancer I will get sggresive cancer…! I have been afraid! But hearing your words and your courage I know that JESUS has a plan! He is the BLEESED CONTROLLER of ALL things! Whether I get it or not … ? I believe it! I love you!
    Abs

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