In 2005, a man named John Brandick went to the doctor with troubling symptoms. The hospital performed some tests, told him he had terminal pancreatic cancer and only one year to live. When Mr. Brandick heard this news, he decided it was time to live the good life. He quit his job. He sold his home. His sold his car and most of his clothing. He started spending his life savings. He traveled. He ate at expensive restaurants. He splurged.
About a year later, around the time he was supposed to die, he went back to the hospital to find out why he was doing so well. It turned out, he didn’t have cancer after all. He merely had an inflammation of the pancreas. He was not dying. He was going to live!
Think for a moment how you would respond if you thought you were going to die of cancer and then found out you were cancer free! Mr. Brandick’s response? He sued the hospital for misdiagnosing him!
Instead of suing the hospital, perhaps Mr. Brandick should have been thankful for a year of living his life to the fullest. How many of us ever really do that? It is interesting that it took facing a death sentence before John Brandick really began to live.
What is holding you back from living your life to the full? Jesus said, "I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full" (John 10:10). Have you experienced what Jesus promised you? If not, why not? Perhaps the answer is found where He also said, "Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it" (Matthew 16:24-25).
In other words, the key to real life, abundant life, is death. Death by way of self-denial and self-sacrifice. Just as Mr. Brandick only began to really live be embracing his own death, so we find our lives by losing them.
Ironically, the meaning and purpose for which we were created can only be experienced in death.