Standing for Truth and Defending Your Freedom
Standing for Truth and Defending Your Freedom

Living Among the Dying

by Frank Wright, Ph.D.

Years ago while traveling in Australia, I was struck by a newspaper headline. The story told of a woman mistakenly deported to the Philippines. There she was taken in by Roman Catholic nuns, who cared for her and let her live with them at a hospice home they operated. During her four years at the hospice, her family did not know where she was and thought she had died. They were heartbroken. The newspaper headline tells her story:

Wrongfully-Deported Woman Found Living Among the Dying.

Subsequent newspaper stories recounted the joy of being reunited with her family and of the red-faced Australian officials who could not explain her deportation, nor why she could not be located for four years. But it was the headline that stuck with me then and still resonates with me now: Living Among the Dying.

This is not just the story of an Australian woman; it’s our story also. This woman lived among the dying, and God bless the nuns that took her in. But we also live among the dying. Each January we are profoundly reminded of the silent slaughter of the innocents. Yet we also sojourn among living people who may one day die and perish everlastingly apart from Christ.

For both of these tragedies we have the cure. Both the truth of the humanity of the unborn and the power of the Gospel have been entrusted to us. And apart from the “curative powers” of the Gospel, the world has no hope.

All of which reminds me of an apocryphal story about Jesus ascending to heaven. Having left His followers standing on a hilltop looking up, Jesus returned to heaven in great glory. There the angels gathered to hear what had happened. Jesus spoke of His humble birth, His sinless life, and His perfect obedience to His Father. He explained how His atoning death and bodily resurrection satisfied the wrath of God against sin, making it possible for people to inherit eternal life. One angel asked: “Lord, how will the people on Earth hear about what you’ve done for them?’ Jesus replied: “I have commanded my disciples to tell the world.” The angel hesitated slightly but said: “Lord, what if your disciples don’t tell the world? What other plan do you have?” Jesus paused and said: “I have no other plan.”

This apocryphal tale reminds us that you and I are the plan. We are commanded to tell the truth about life and death. And we are commanded to reach the whole world with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. This was, in fact, the first recorded command that Jesus gave to His followers. He said, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men” (Matthew 4:19). Unsurprisingly, His last recorded command also spoke of salvation. Before He ascended to heaven, Jesus stood on the mount and said to His followers:

But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you shall be My witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth (Acts 1:8).

The first and last commands of Jesus—some call it the alpha and omega of His teaching—offer life to the dying, and emphasize our responsibility to proclaim this great truth.

Yes, we live among the dying—too much of it tragic and to our shame. About this tragedy we are commanded to tell the truth. Yet everywhere around us live people rushing off to a Christ-less eternity. About this tragedy we are also commanded to speak truth. As Jesus put it, we are to be “fishers of men.” Ordinary fishermen catch live fish and they die. We are to catch dead men that they might live. And our calling is to use every mass medium available to accomplish that task. Your partnership with us makes that possible.