...used by God, for the advancement of His kingdom...
Thursday, January 29, 2009
Of Life and Death
Sometimes I get too high an opinion of myself. Not that I think I'm all that great, just I start thinking that what I think is somehow gravely important. I view the world self-centeredly, and judge the significance of external things based on how they affect me. But sooner or later, some external thing will come and shake my world, rattle my bearings, give me a slap in the face, like a shock of cold water. I just wish these things would come along more often. God knows I desperately need them. One of these is Death.
Last week I heard the news that the unborn child of a dear friend of ours had died, just three weeks before the due date. Three weeks. This floored me. Inwardly I screamed "Why God?!!!" Though I knew He was in control, I questioned His purpose. I'm ashamed to say I still find myself wishing for a miracle, wishing time could rewind so that we could somehow save the baby. Yet that is not what He has planned.
Through all this, Death has not been far from my mind. All of us are hurling through space at break-neck speed, we daily whiz past each other in vehicles made of metal and explosive fuel. We are constantly exposed to viruses, and bacteria, yet all around us, things hold together. The supposed chaos of our universe that scientists claim, is ordered and surrendered under the will of One greater than Chance. So much so that we forget that our lives are but a vapor, that each breath is miracle of mercy, that each of our hearts beat not by habit, but rather in accordance to the will of Him who through whom all things hold together. But when something goes wrong, such as the death of a dear child, fearfully and wonderfully made, woven together with beauty and intricacy, we scream "Why God?!!"
It is instances like these that shatter my illusion of self-importance, and force me to bow before a Power infinitely greater than I. It is instances like these that remind me exactly how fine the line between life and death is.
I don't even claim to know what God's plan was in the death of this child. I don't have all sorts of fancy words to explain the pain of these circumstances. I just know that this is the greatest grief I have ever known in my lifetime and that God has never revealed Himself to me more vividly than in this past week.
I have never seen strength like what the Kruse family has shown during the loss of their son. I've seen them hold fast, praising the Lord, while I wanted to question His will.
Job once said: "What then shall I do when God rises up? When he makes inquiry, what shall I answer him? Did not he who made me in the womb make him?And did not one fashion us in the womb?... Then Job answered the Lord and said: I know that you can do all things,and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted. Who is this that hides counsel without knowledge?Therefore I have uttered what I did not understand,things too wonderful for me, which I did not know..."
It is of Life and Death that my thoughts have turned to lately, and consquently I have wondered how I ought to live my life differently, in remembering that death is ultimate for me as well as everyone else. Hmm. It's sobering, suddenly realizing that I will die too someday. Will it be today? Next week? I don't know. My greatest fear is that I will die poorly. I don't want to die afraid, I want to be brave, and to face eternity with eagerness. *Sigh*, I think you need to read the lyrics to this Steven Curtis song to understand how I feel now:
I pull over to the side of the road and I watch the cars pass me by The headlights and a black limousine tell me someone is saying goodbye I bow my head and I whisper a prayer, "Father, comfort the broken hearts" And as I drive away there's a thought that I I cannot escape, No I, I cannot escape this thought I can't get away
Oh, if this should be my last day on this earth How then shall I live? Oh, if this should be the last day that I have Before I breathe the air of heaven Let me live it with abandon to The only thing that remains After my last day, here on earth
If this should be my last day here on earth If this should be my last day here on earth If this should be my last, last day here on earth
And if tomorrow comes to find me Looking in the face of Jesus Will I hear Him say the words "well done"?
Oh, if this should be my last day on this earth How then shall I live? Oh, if this should be the last day that I have Before I breathe the air of heaven Let me live it with abandon to The only One that remains After my last day Here on earth
If this should be my last day here on earth If this should be my last, my last day here on earth
Cause this could be my last, this could be my last This could be my last day