In my last dying moments I have just realized the root of my life-long fear of commitment: lack of confidence.
This lack of confidence, Iíve discovered, is two-fold. One, a commitment could turn sour at any moment without warning; then Iíd be stuck. And, two, a man is liable to collapse under the weight of a commitment, causing him to call the whole thing off, and Iíd rather stay safely in the dark than test my strength in this matter.
Itís kind of a late revelation if you ask me. If Iíd understood sooner, maybe Iíd have gotten to work on fixing my phobia, ending up okay by the time I was sixty. But, now Iím dyingÖ
You can imagine my fear of committing to death right now at this unfortunate moment. You can guess my anxiety over the unknown journey of my departing soul. Although, I guess Death will go on with business as usual with or without my consent.
Oddly enough, though, somewhat in a weak moment, I did make a commitment. I committed my life to Christ in the pew of the small white church on our military base. This I did six days before I was scheduled to head out to fight in the Pacific. Maybe it was the run of emotions or a sudden clearness of death I felt that made me do it. Or, maybe I believed what the pastor said about Jesus never letting you go the second you put your faith in Him, despite your failures. Yes, it must have been this last thing.
But at this moment, in the face of death, I feel no confidence, no comfort in Jesusí Word. Just fear.
The year is 1943. I have lived 19 years. It doesnít seem like long. I am a United States Navy pilot. My name is Thomas R. Jacobson. It says so on the dog tags hung around my neck. The tags are important for obvious identification purposes, should someone stumble upon my body later. It cuts my chances of being chalked up as MIA, and will save my family from years of discouraged hope.
This gives me the slightest dose of relief as I take inventory of my injuries. I donít have the stomach to describe to you what I see. My heart is flopping irregularly in my chest. I picture a fish washed ashore sucking for air.
Above me wedged between two enormous tree trunks is my Grumman F4F Wildcat, still hissing from the wreck. Beads of sunlight pass through the leafy treetops and the torn left wing of the fighter plane. A gaping hole is visible where its nose and propeller once were. It looks like a huge open mouth that has spewed me out onto the ground.
There is no sunlight down where I am, though; itís blocked out by the dizzying trees. The fall, Iím sure, has broken more bones than I could count. In a sense, considering my injuries temporarily subtracts from the fear of whatís to become of me Ė after Iím dead. As a six-month-old Christian, I still have lots of questions, but I should know that my salvation is secured.
But I sure donít feel it right now. Will I really go to Heaven? Is there even a Heaven? Here I am dying and doubting my salvation. Is this a sin?
My mind falls briefly from these questions to my surroundings. On a whim, I decide to enjoy my last view of the world through my blue eyes that once prompted so many compliments.
Under different circumstances, with the tropical weather, the fresh greenness, and the romantic sound of crashing waves somewhere off in the distance, this might not be such a bad place. I think if I had married Janice, she might have liked to visit a place like this. If I were to live I wonder if itíd be too late to pop the question. Right now, marriage doesnít seem so scary.
Things are now coming to an abrupt end. My lungs are gulping their last breath. But, before I die I want to make one last commitment. Itís unlike me, I know, but why not? Whatís to lose? I choose to be confident in Godís Word about my salvation. Despite all feelings of doubts and weakness, I commit to believe.
The last words that pass through my lips are this: ďJesus, you said that you prepared a place for me. I believe that Iíll soon see you there.Ē
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