Yesterday a friend of mine went to be with Jesus. He was in his mid-twenties and left behind his mom, dad, brother, sister-in-law, nephew, wife of only a couple years, and a myriad of friends and family who are shocked and grieving. We do not grieve as those who have no hope but we are sad for the void we are feeling. Today we see through a glass darkly, but we know that everything happens for good to those who love God. And so we hold on to that and the peace in knowing that we will see Him again one day.
This sudden, unexpected death of someone so young has me thinking again about the importance of letting people know what they mean to you. This is something you cannot do enough. I don’t think anyone can receive too many hugs or kind words or “I love you”s. When they are lying in a coffin, it will be too late, and the grief will be worse if you did not take time for that person while they were alive.
In church today, the pastor read from Ephesians 2:1-10. I have been thinking about verses 1-7 especially: “And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience—among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved—and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.” I am so grateful for God’s continual work in my life but I grieve for those who have not yet been cleansed and renewed by the power of God’s grace. How hopeless life must be for them. As sad as I am about my friend’s death, I know where he is. I know I will see him again. A friend of mine was also touched by a young, unexpected death this week but, in that case, the young man and his family don’t know the Lord. How especially tragic that is!
No one knows they have tomorrow. I don’t. You don’t. But we can live each day as if it were our last. We can make sure that we are kind to others. We can wake up each morning, asking God to show us how we can best serve Him. We can tell our friends and family how much we love them. Better to wear them out by telling them often than not to tell them at all. Don’t neglect to hug and kiss your spouse and children goodbye before you leave the house. You don’t know if that could be the last hug or kiss you give them.
Life is short. We know that and, yet, we tend to live as if we have forever. We don’t.
Lastly, make sure that you are living a life that will allow you to meet Jesus with joy instead of shame. Don’t waste your life with selfish pursuits but strive to walk in the Spirit so that you do not fulfill the lusts of the flesh. The Holy Spirit will help you if this is your sincere desire.
When I get to Heaven, I want to know that I fulfilled God’s purpose for my life. I pray I will have impacted someone’s life positively and helped him or her to draw closer to the Lord through the things I said and did. I don’t want anyone close to me to wonder if I loved them. If there are good things said about me at my funeral, I pray that God gets the glory, for, without Him, there is nothing good in me. With Him, I can testify that God is alive! His grace is amazing! His love is real! And His mercy is incredible! For, you see, there was a day that I did not know Him like I do today. I am so thankful that He looked down and saw this poor, pitiful creature and saw what I could be instead of what I was. I still don’t do everything perfectly. I still struggle. But I am striving to stay in the Word, to not neglect daily prayer and worship, to seek God’s will and to be willing to grow. I’m grateful He sees my heart, and I pray that He will continue to show me the wicked ways in me and lead me to life everlasting. On that day, I expect I will temporarily forget all my loved ones that I miss right now. I will be fully focused on Jesus, waiting for my chance to look into His eyes. Will I see disappointment or love? I imagine there will be a bit of nervousness. But, once I see those eyes of love looking back at me and hear Him say, “Welcome Home, my child. Enter into your rest,” I picture myself running into His arms and letting Him hold me for a very long time while the tears flow unhindered. In many ways, I cannot wait for that day but, until then, God has a plan for my life, and I must occupy until He comes. God, help me to be faithful. I hope that is your earnest prayer as well.