Finishing Well


by Mike Ratliff

3 Εὐλογητὸς ὁ θεὸς καὶ πατὴρ τοῦ κυρίου ἡμῶν Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ ὁ κατὰ τὸ πολὺ αὐτοῦ ἔλεος ἀναγεννήσας ἡμᾶς εἰς ἐλπίδα ζῶσαν δι’ ἀναστάσεως Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ ἐκ νεκρῶν, 4 εἰς κληρονομίαν ἄφθαρτον καὶ ἀμίαντον καὶ ἀμάραντον τετηρημένην ἐν οὐρανοῖς εἰς ὑμᾶς 5 τοὺς ἐν δυνάμει θεοῦ φρουρουμένους διὰ πίστεως εἰς σωτηρίαν ἑτοίμην ἀποκαλυφθῆναι ἐν καιρῷ ἐσχάτῳ 6 ἐν ᾧ ἀγαλλιᾶσθε ὀλίγον ἄρτι, εἰ δέον ἐστίν, λυπηθέντας ἐν ποικίλοις πειρασμοῖς, 7 ἵνα τὸ δοκίμιον ὑμῶν τῆς πίστεως πολυτιμότερον χρυσίου τοῦ ἀπολλυμένου, διὰ πυρὸς δὲ δοκιμαζομένου εὑρεθῇ εἰς ἔπαινον καὶ δόξαν καὶ τιμὴν ἐν ἀποκαλύψει Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ (1 Peter 1:3-7 NA28)

3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the one according to his great mercy has regenerated us to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 to an imperishable inheritance that is undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, 5 who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. 6 In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if it is necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, 7 that the genuineness of your faith-more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire-may be found to bring praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. (1 Peter 1:3-7 translated from the NA28 Greek text)

I left on a trip early in the morning of August 19th for a scheduled two week meeting in the Kansas City area dealing with restructuring much of how we do our Database Management at our company. However, I knew going into this that there was the possibility that I could receive a message or call or email from my sister that the time in hospice care was drawing to an end for my nephew Travis who has been battling brain cancer for about 6 years or so. In fact, on Wednesday last week I got an email from her saying that the hospice care nurses were saying he had only a matter of hours or days left so we had better be prepared. I called her that night and she confirmed that and I could also sense a deepening dread in her perhaps some weariness. In any case the very next  evening after after my wife drove up to KC from our home in the OKC area to spend the weekend with me, we received the message from her that Travis had died. I made all the arrangements to depart the meetings and head home the next day so we could then drive to Houston to be with family and attend Travis’ funeral, which was on Monday this week. We arrived in Houston with our daughter Sunday afternoon in time to attend the “Viewing” at the funeral home. This was the first time I had seen my sister in several weeks, perhaps months. What a difference! It was a like a massive load had been removed from her. We visited with my brother-in-law, Travis’ brother and sister, and his wife Jennifer and it was amazing how, yes, they were in mourning, but there was also a great release and joy present knowing that the one they loved was no longer suffering and was now in the presence of our Lord.  Continue reading