Until this morning …
Today the thought that usually gives me all kinds of unpleasant emotions–kind of like I felt while watching the guy crossing the Grand Canyon on tight rope last week–this time it encouraged me instead. Why? Because unless the Lord comes back, it’s not just something that happens to a few unlucky people. It happens to all of us.
We’re not alone in death. No one is somehow immune. The 20-year-old looking so cute is not immune, any more than the 60-year-old grandmother is. The healthiest eater and the most disciplined exerciser are not immune either. There is simply no immunization to protect us from aging or from accidents. No one is somehow above it or beyond it. We all face it equally.
And there’s another way we’re not alone in this. Not only are human beings growing older and breaking down, but so is the dear, old earth. According to scientists, as the world naturally weakens with age, it also becomes less able, just like people, to hold its “liquids and gases” well. As the earth’s protective layers slowly break down over time, little by little more radiation is being released into the atmosphere.
So the resulting rise in cancer cases nowadays is really not so strange or mysterious or random after all. We could still be driving horse and buggies and growing our own food, yet it still wouldn’t–and couldn’t–stop the natural aging process of the earth nor the death it unintentionally helps bring.
So remind me why this is encouraging?
Because while the timetable for everyone may be different, it’s not random at all. Death doesn’t happen to some people and not to others. At some point, we all take our turn. And that is where the encouragement came in.
HE is in charge of all of our turns AND as we go through them, we are not alone. He not only gives us Himself on the journey, but each other as well.
If we should lose a dear, sweet spouse, a precious child or another loved one, there are countless others out there who have walked that same road before us. We would not be some random, isolated case that was somehow inexplicably chosen to face the full force of God’s fury on our chest. No. No fury. No randomness. Not alone. We all take a turn.
But the real encouragement came because we have today. He says not to worry about if or how or when our turn will come or that of our loved ones, but to grab on to the life, the people, the responsibilities and all the opportunities we have right now and wring out every drop of the goodness that He intends for us to find today. He doesn’t want us acting like little children, worrying about what’s fair and whose turn it is, but to leave all the turns and tomorrows to Him.
All we need to know is that today is our turn to live. We don’t have to be alive, we get to be. So it’s our turn today to put away whatever it is that’s hindering or holding us back from living joyfully right now, right where we are. Because we get to.
So what’s holding you back? Procrastination? You don’t have to do the job, you get to. You get to be alive today to do it. Would you choose the alternative? How about bitterness? Rip that malignant cancer out of your heart today and forgive–because you can. You don’t have to please God, you get to–and reap the resulting blessings. And you’ll never feel more alive than the moment you choose to look the Goliath of your bitterness in the face and send him sprawling–for good. What about fear? It doesn’t add one more day to your life or to that of your loved ones. Let it go. Let the whipped, cowardly wimp run off with his tail between his legs. Then grab on to today–and go. Go for love. Go for joy. Go for peace. Go for God and all that He is–because you get to.
So put it all together, and yes, it is a cheery thought. We’re not alone in this. It’s not random. No one is immune. Best of all, He’s in charge of all our turns. And today, it’s our turn to live. And someday, we’ll get to live with Him forever.
Yes, that’s definitely a cheery thought.