It’s been a while since I last wrote, I admit. In the time between Winter ending and Spring beginning I have taken extra moments to rest. In these moments I have been able to disconnect in order to connect more fully to the people most precious to me, my family. I have seen a year pass and in this time reflect on the milestone of my father’s home-going. Just this week I received official word that the estate handling had finally found an end. This business of walking through the valley of the shadow of death has finalized, settled, come to completion. For now.
And on goes life.
Winter has gone, Spring has come and already it’s preparing to give way to Summer. Time spins round so rapidly it’s hard to believe that all this new color will fade to Fall in a mere few months. Time collects so much, leaves so much, and in it’s span of the space between the dots God works change in the landscape of our life. God changes things, He changes us.
I have discovered death to be just one of the tools God can use to remind us of the important things, or rather, what should be the most important thing: the reality of God in our lives, changing us, using us. I admit that even as I write my thoughts are spinning in a million directions and my heart is heavy. This week has brought with it news that is as hard to read as it is to understand. Another senseless and cruel bombing took place in England followed by news of the sudden death of a childhood youth instructor who was kind, humble and a selfless servant. Shocking news. Hard news. Every day news hits with another harsh reality of just how hard, bitter, ugly and cold the world’s landscape is becoming.
And so with that a warning: I’m about to tear down a fence that I’ve been dancing around for far too long. I generally try to steer clear of writing anything “political” but to be honest, I’m over all the snarkiness. Politics are not going to change or save us. Only God can save. All the ugliness we see in this world can not be solved by the culture’s latest social agenda or terminology re-defining. You can attempt to re-define marriage and gender but it will never change what God, our creator, has already created and cemented. Your creator has embedded the beauty of His work in the very fabric of your DNA which can not be re-worked or re-defined. Your emptiness and fear won’t be solved by divorce, drugs, alcohol, abortion or you fill in the proverbial blank. Our mistakes can not be washed away or re-written. They can only be owned up to and repented from. And so, I believe it’s time we start calling out what’s truly the problem and the problem begins with US. The problem is pride, selfishness, SIN. The world has a sin problem that we ourselves will not fix or change. We preach love but if we don’t know the author of love it’s self, how do we even know what real love truly is? As 1 John 4:19 states, “We love because he first loved us.”
Isn’t anything else we preach or teach just a counterfeit, twisted version of what love truly is or should be? You and I, we are not God. We may think we are wise but there in lies the danger. Proverbs 26:12 poses this question: “Do you see a man who is wise in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.”
To be bluntly honest, God’s ways are not our ways and His thoughts are not our thoughts. There is but one God and He nailed the answer to the world’s sin problem, once and for all, on the cross in the form of His son, Jesus Christ. In repentance we must, must come to the point of accepting we are sinners in need of a savior. God is the only way. When death comes knocking, it won’t matter how good you were, how kind you were, how much you gave away. It won’t matter how much you’ve acquired or how much love and unity you’ve preached from sun-up until sundown. God is the only way. The narrow way. Someday, whether we want to acknoweldge it or not, we will answer to the one who created all things, who created us. What will be your answer? What will be His? Will He know you?
I’m a bit passionate about this because death has settled and taught me much this year. I’m a bit passionate and perhaps more bold because there is this box of un-sifted “stuff” sitting in my basement that is the only remaining evidence of a life lived on this earth. Most of the contents of these boxes will soon be sifted and most likely shredded and discarded. There is nothing in these boxes of any eternal value at all.
You see, my dad didn’t come into this world with anything and he didn’t leave taking anything with him. He lived most his life cut-off from the world. He was hard and distrusting and hard to live with. He was broken but wouldn’t admit that. He acknowledged a God, yes, but for most of His life belief in God was an unnecessary, foolish complication. Until cancer hit. Until death knocked. God got a hold of him then. When everything else including pride and self was stripped, the truth and reality of God softened his heart and brought the kind of peace that only God can bring. Outside the hospital window the day my dad died it didn’t matter how many mistakes he had made or how many times he had gotten it all wrong and messed up. It didn’t matter what political debate was brewing. It didn’t matter how much money my dad’s wallet held or what kind of phone sat in his hospital drawer. It didn’t matter who was president or would be president, just that God was dominate and supreme in his life. The only thing that mattered in that moment was the issue of being God’s and God’s alone. To the one about to enter through the doors of eternity, nothing else matters.
So, let’s face it. I may not be here tomorrow and you may not be here tomorrow. Death is very real and eternity, well, it’s forever. Don’t wait until tomorrow to settle what you can today. Tomorrow may just be a day too late.