Beware, keep alert; for you do not know when the time will come. (Mark 13:33 NRSV)
I read once about Gene Stallings, the very successful football coach of the Alabama Crimson Tide. Gene Stallings hasn't escaped without his share of pain. His only son John Mark has Down's syndrome. Doctors said he wouldn't live to be four. Then they said 11. Then John Mark turned 31.

"Children with Down's syndrome are living longer than they used to," says Stallings. "But usually they have heart problems. John Mark has a heart problem too. But I try not to think about how much time he has remaining. I just appreciate every day we have together. John Mark is not really worried about a national championship," Stallings continues. "He wants the team to win because it makes Pop happy. That's what I love about him. He's so innocent. There isn't a mean bone in his body. He's got something you and I don't have," Stalling concludes, "a one-way ticket to heaven."

Gene Stallings takes each day as it comes with John Mark's heart condition. We are also challenged by God to live each day as gift from heaven.

God of peace, I sometimes take my time for granted. Show me how to live each day more fully for you and your children. Amen.

Ron Newhouse

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