As a pastor, I can truly say that one of the most difficult jobs is hospital visitation--visiting with people who are in really bad shape. I always grapple with the tough question, "Do I give them hope against hope that God will heal them, or do I concentrate on getting them ready to die?" Both priorities are crucial to the visiting pastor, but both seem to conflict. Both priorities seem to conflict, but I have found that they both really are one and the same. Give people hope and they will be ready for anything. This is not a vain hope, but one deeply rooted in faith. I have learned not to ask, "Are you ready to die?" but rather, "Are you ready to live?" Hope looks toward an unbounded future. Faith reaches toward an everlasting future. Some of you have loved ones that are in bad shape. Their time here is limited. Give them hope. You just might be surprised what God can do!