My Only Chance

By John Stumbo

I recently had the privilege of presenting a seminar in Tampa, Florida to the C&MA Council delegates on the topic of Christ Our Sanctifying Healer. At the close of the presentation, I read a statement which I share with you now.

I’m prone to discouragement . . . even depression. Through the years I’ve had to learn strategies to ward off and overcome these tendencies. One strategy is to claim—remind myself of, ground myself in, declare to be true—certain truths. This brief reflection is another effort to do so and has been meaningful to me. I trust it will be of encouragement (bringing courage) to you as well.

My Only Chance

This is the only chance I will have to live by faith.

Only for this lifetime will I endure hardship.

This is the last opportunity I will have to experience the blessing promised for those who have not seen and yet have believed. (John 20:29)

This is the only time I will ever be old. I want to do “old” well.

This is the only opportunity I will have to experience pain. I don’t want to waste the experience.

Hardship, pain, old … these are words for this world.

Only in this existence am I called to walk by faith, not sight. Walking by faith is a passing privilege for those still living between the two Gardens. (Gen. 2:8; Rev. 21:1)

It’s “passing”, because we know where this chapter ends . . . a personal audience with Jesus.

I don’t know what the road will be like along the way, but I know where it leads: the presence of Jesus.

Our road doesn’t end in a cancer ward, hospital bed, mortuary or graveside.

It ends in the presence of Jesus where we discover that life has only just begun.

It will be our turn:

•    To see His loving eyes

•    To hear His life-creating voice

•    To touch His sacrificial scars.

We’ll get our turn:

•    Like Peter—to walk with him along a shoreline.

•    Like Mary—to sit at His feet.

•    Like John—we’ll slide in close to Him at the banquet table.

Paul tells us in I Cor. 15 that the last enemy to be destroyed is death. Destroyed it will be. Death dies…and with it all that is diabetic, arthritic, afflicted, infected, broken, saddened, lonely, wearied, fearful, insecure and paralyzed.

Behold, I am making all things new, the Coming King says … all things new, even us. (Rev. 21:5)

Yes, these final few sunsets I face on earth are my last lingering days to walk the path of faith.

Bright and golden streets await. All will be well. We will be well.

And, all will be well with Him…our loving Jesus. His saving, sanctifying, healing, returning work will be complete…His redemptive work fully realized. There will be nothing more to be forgiven, cleansed, healed or rescued.

All will be well, for all will be His.

Then the end will come, when Christ hands over the kingdom to God the Father after he has destroyed all dominion, authority and power. For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet…When he has done this, then the Son himself will be made subject to him who put everything under him, so that God may be all in all. (I Cor. 15:24-28)

John Stumbo is a pastor, husband, author and president of the Christian Missionary Alliance. At age 47, life suddenly “turned” for this pastor and ultra-marathon runner. A mysterious illness left him bedridden for 77 days and unable to swallow for over a year. Stumbo, who now lives and works in Wisconsin, and also has written about his journey. His first book is titled “An Honest Look: At a Mysterious Journey.” His second book is titled “In the Midst: Treasures from the Dark,” a collection of many of the blogs, poems and prayers that he wrote “in the midst” of his health crisis and a companion to his first book. For more information about John or to buy his books visit