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Monday, January 4, 2016

One Second Away

 I stare at the picture and marvel at the outcome. A truck, hardly recognizable and crunched to a pile of junk. Inside, two young people had been driving back to college - my friend Hunter and his girlfriend Arika.  When the truck rolled over several times and hit a concrete pillar at 85 mph in the wee hours of the morning this last Friday, two lives should've ended that night. But they didn't. Because God intervened. 
 I reflect on the simple yet profound truth that any of us are only one second away from meeting our eternal destiny. In a moment, the lives we live can be altered forever. How often we fritter away our time and act as if we shall go on as immortals in this world forever! How often do we take the people and experiences in our lives for granted, only to realize in a moment like this that it can all be taken away! How often do we make idols of things that don't really matter anyway!
 Hunter posted on social media that, while he doesn't remember much from the accident, he does recall thinking quickly that this was most likely the end for one or both of them and he hoped it was him instead of Arika. And he also remembers wondering if he had told his family how much he loved them prior to their leaving. In that instant, so much mattered...the important things...and the rest didn't. 
 This life is too short to spend on temporary things that don't affect our preparation for eternity. This life is too short to get our "rags in a knot," as the old saying says, about situations out of our control. This life is too short not to love and appreciate the people we care about! Most importantly, this life is too short to not ensure that our life is right with the God of the Universe because we could be standing before Him sooner than we imagine. Hunter and Arika never thought or dreamed that they might be ushered into God's presence on that drive back to college. None of us know our time or our place when God will call us to give an account of our lives for eternity. But if we have the peace of knowing that our souls have been given eternal life through Jesus, we can live each day fully and await our final hour with joy and expectation...because that last second on earth is only the beginning.
 As we head into the new year, I want to challenge us all to make the most of our time this year. Only God knows what is ahead for us in 2016. Whether it turns out to be a year of great happiness or great trial, I hope our goal is to find our hearts living in grace more everyday and to carry in hope, knowing that our lives are in the hands of God. All I pray is that we spend our short time on this earth well. It doesn't really matter in the end how hard you worked but how much you trusted. It doesn't matter how much you did but who you became along the way. What God is after in this new year, I believe, isn't simply another twelve months to fill up as we please but another 365 days to experience Him more fully, to surrender to Him more willingly, to love others more truly. If, at the end of 2016, we can say that we've died to our own desires and selfish ways more, rested in the will of Jesus more, cared about the well-being of others more...then this year can be counted a success. By God's grace, let's make this a year of ridding our lives of the idols that keep us from Him and that stand in the way of His work being accomplished in us. Let's make this a year of casting away fear...of making each moment one of significance...knowing well that we're possibly only one second away.