Verse 17 -The Apostle’s future
17 By this is love perfected with us, so that we may have confidence for the day of judgment, because as he is so also are we in this world. (1 John 4:17–ESV)
John the encourager is not, in the main, saying, “Be like Jesus so you can have confidence for the day of judgment.” I think his primary message at this point is him saying, “This abiding in Jesus’ way of life, the loving life, results in a clear sense that God himself is in us. A significant thing grows up when one lives that way. Do you know what it is? It is confidence for the coming judgment. Do you know why we have that? It is because we are like him in this life. We exist in, live in, function in styles that are like Jesus. It works.”
This Summer, the Summer of 2018, the Ulrich family vacation has dragged on and on. See our dad developed unstable angina while up in our mountain habitat. We came to learn that his symptoms stuttered all week, but he kept them under wraps; until the end at least.
When the day of departure arrived, while the family was piling the paraphernalia into the Odyssey my dad and an elderly mountain neighbor were enmeshed in conversation. Right in the middle of that discussion dad’s chest most have gonged its pain which finally bumbled out of his mouth and into mom’s ears. What? Angina? When? Now.
Such an ending to the family vacation she did not expect. Maybe the mountain neighbor did not expect mom to end that conversation quite so abruptly, but off to the front seat mom ushered her pained husband, with a simultaneous yell to the one son remaining on vacation: “LUKE IT IS TIME TO GO!”
I was in Augusta, having gone on a different vacation this year. Our church service was winding down when the text buzzed me in the television broadcast sound room (I work there on Sunday mornings). “Dad looks bad; I think he is having a heart attack.” A colleague was running the soundboard so off to a hall I went, and the roller-coaster began.
His heart flirted with an attack all the way down the mountain, not because his 70’s something wife was having to drive those steep hairpins for the first time, but because the coronaries had had enough. As they descended from the 5,300+ feet of elevation and the city of Marion, North Carolina neared: Bam! Angina! “There is a blue sign for the hospital,” said the driving-wife. “Head there,” said the passenger-husband. “EKG good, now what?” That was not a hospital, but their lab noticed the cardiac enzymes were too high. There are so many, many other details, but in the end, he was transferred by ambulance to the Owens Heart Center in Asheville, North Carolina where the situation declined enough that dad said, “Yep, let’s do this surgery.”
He is now recovering from what turned out to be a long three-vessel coronary artery bypass graft (a.k.a. 3v CABG, “Three vessel cabbage” if you find phonetics are pleasant). Since football season is relevant to us now the night after his cabbage, he walked nearly 42 yards to a new room. That is a big set of steps for all that the last week had.