I sat in the small church on Good Friday and listened as the pastor spoke. Outside, I could see the traffic rolling along at a crawl. Just a few hours earlier, two vehicles had crashed on the highway, leaving two people dead and another two seriously injured. The entire South-bound side was shut down completely. To add to the soberness of my thoughts, our pastor had nearly been in an accident that same day and so had another church member. As I reflected on the events I had just been told about, I couldn't get past the simple truth that none of us know our moment or means of departure from this world. Whether we acknowledge it or not, God is the only disposer of life - He has the right to give it and the right to take it away. When our time to die has come, nothing can prevent it from happening. I thought of how each of the people who died today had full intentions of living beyond this day...but they didn't. Even more perplexing is the big question of where they are now spending their eternal destiny.
Years ago, I penned the following quote, and I believe it now more than ever: "A life not lived for God is no life at all." There is only one way to truly depart this life in peace: knowing one has placed faith in the hands of the Savior and has lived a life that honors Him. All other means of self-fulfillment are futile and will leave one empty-handed when he or she stands before God and gives their final account. For years, the idea of death was disturbing. I wondered what it looked like to live a life to its fullest measure and to die in peace with God and mankind. Several months ago, following the death of my friend Katie from cancer, I finally witnessed what I'd always wondered about. And I began to pray: God, when my time comes, let me die gladly. Let me go in peace knowing I have done what you put me on this earth to accomplish.
I stepped out from the church after the service, the pastor also stood beside me. I pointed out the beautiful sunset off in the distance. I realized that, on that evening, two people did not live to see that sunset. And yet, because of the eternal hope that I know I have - that the pastor has - we could gaze at it together and know that this life isn't all there is. What happened on Easter morning has secured our final destination and assured us of the fact that death no longer has the final say for our souls.
Even in the sadness that surrounded Good Friday, I also felt joyful because I believe that my life is in the care of the Sovereign God and that all of my days are counted and numbered by Him. He has the right to use me as He pleases. My duty is to fulfill my work for Him well. James 4:14 tells us that life is a vapor that passes away and is gone. We are only here for a short time. Let us resolve to not waste the one life we've been given...for today might be all that we have.