Friday morning I found out that a highly-respected, enthusiastic, passionate elder at our church had died suddenly of a heart attack on Thursday night. He leaves behind a wife and three children. The youngest is eleven. I am sobered and saddened by his death, but rejoice at where he finds himself tonight.
Friday night I found myself driving down San Fernando Road at sixty-five miles an hour, trying to get to a friend's house for an emergency hospital run. We ended up needing to call the paramedics, and although the hospital wasn't necessary, it was still very frightening.
This has served to remind me, once again, that life is short. Short like the greenness of grass in the summer. Short like the blooming of a flower. Short like a vapor.
I realize I've said that a lot on this blog. But it seems like there's been an over-abundance of situations in my life in the last year that have forced me to think about eternal realities and the frailty of life and the value of the soul and the lies of the world and the devil. And I don't want to miss the lessons.
So I feel compelled to sound the call once again: Today is a day to honor God. Today is a day to redeem the time. Today, like every day, is a day to live life to the fullest and to work hard and to pray passionately and to value godliness above comfort and to do the wise, practical things that prove Christian character and advance the kingdom. It's not a day to dilly-dally or daydream or watch good intentions continue to fall by the wayside. And it's not a day to assume upon tomorrow.
You could die, or Jesus could come back. Right now. Both very-real possibilities have everything to do with how you live. I don't care how mundane or safe or normal or guaranteed you feel like your life might be today. I'm pleading with you not to believe in the myth of invincibility or the assumption of continuation.
It is better to go to a house of mourning
Than to go to a house of feasting,
Because that is the end of every man,
And the living takes it to heart.
– Ecclesiastes 7:2
Consider your end, and live accordingly. Think (hard and deeply) about eternity and make today count for that day. Preach to yourself that Christ is coming soon (because He is) and do whatever you do today in a way that makes you comfortable with that reality.
This is the house of mourning — it will wake you up, and quick.
And it just may make you healthy, even though it makes you sick.
This is the house of mourning; it awakens all the numb.
For the dead will teach the living if the living will but come.
O God, the house of mourning is a ghastly, grisly place,
But there is no substitution for this awful, shocking grace.
Oh, help me to remember when the feasting is so rife
To attend the house of mourning in the morning of my life.*
* From "House of Mourning."