Monday, March 2, 2015
Today I learned that a high school classmate recently died. He was 38 years old. Only 38.
Far too young to die, most would say. Surely you've heard that phrase as often as I have. Perhaps you've even said it.
It is the idea of untimely death that has me thinking tonight.
Aren't all deaths "untimely"? Few of us wake in the morning and think, "Today's the day. I expect to die today." At some time or another during our journeys on this earth, we will all feel the emptiness of a lost loved one and long for even just one more day with them.
The Bible actually tells us that no deaths are untimely. Psalm 139:16 says, "... all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be."
If this is true, then what the Bible is saying is that before we are even born, God has planned the number of our days. He knows in advance how many years, days, minutes we'll have on this earth. If God knows all of our days, then it stands to reason that nothing can take us out of this world before our days are done, and nothing can keep us here longer than the number of days set forth for each one of us. Death, although often a surprise to us, is never a surprise to God.
I find this to be encouraging news. Why? Because life is not without purpose. Life is not without hope. Yes, physical death will eventually come for all of us, but until that time, we have LIFE! What will you choose to do with it?
We all have a tendency to get stuck. Some of us are stuck in the past either wanting to relive our youth or doing all we can to bury the pain of the past. Others are stuck in the future. It's good to look forward to the future, but we can become so preoccupied with our future plans and dreams that we forget to live in the present.
Because of looking back or looking forward, we miss our greatest calling: living today to the full. Doing the greatest good TODAY. Seeing the people around us as opportunities instead of interruptions. Reveling in the joy of simple moments. Practicing thankfulness. Getting to know the Creator of life, which has the tremendous bonus of eliminating the fear of death.
So as I reflect on a classmate's life, I'm left with a choice. Will I live today with confidence? Confidence that until my time is done, time remains. Will I make the most of the moments I'm given? Spending time with the ones I love, using the gifts I've been given, allowing myself to be a tool in the Creator's hands, and treating others with dignity and respect. I choose to live. Do you?