Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Like Justin's

Today, I went to my closet to look through my selection of black dresses.  It was cool today with the lingering rain bands of Irma still circling so I went to the back of the closet where the forgotten long sleeves were hiding.  Davis put on a suit and we headed out in the dreary mist to our church for a funeral.  The weather seemed to fit the somberness of the day.  We arrived to find parking to be impossible and seating inside was just as scarce as people lined the walls, shoulder to shoulder, and squeezed into every conceivable spot in sight.

It wasn't surprising at all.  It was one of those deaths that seemed to shake the whole town. A dear family in our church had suffered a sudden and tragic loss on Saturday. A young father, husband, son taken without warning. One of those tragedies which causes everyone to stop and think about their own mortality.  The fragility of life and the incredible speed at which it travels.      

Being absent from here, all last week, my plan was to start this week off with a Sunday post about the joy of this cooler weather and possibly some college football and maybe even a new foundation garment update as the wedding is drawing so very near.  But, then Saturday happened and posting about such trifling matters became inappropriate considering the fact that one of the couples I most admire had unexpectedly lost their son and a sweet, young family had lost their husband and daddy so I found it more suitable to honor him, this week.  

We sat in that church filled beyond capacity with dark suits and black dresses surrounding us and I know that what I was thinking probably wasn't too different from everyone else there.  Of course, I thought about what a loss had been dealt to our community.  Of course, there were the questions bouncing around in my head of why someone incredibly gifted who was busy doing so much good would be taken at such a young age. Of course, there were overwhelming feelings of sympathy and sadness for his family, too.  But, there was something else.

The packed crowd listened to the preacher talk about what this young man had accomplished in his short life.  His achievements.  His degrees.  His awards.  His becoming a judge.  Nothing short of impressive.  But, above all of that, the faith he professed in Jesus and the kind of life he led as a result of that commitment. 

So, as I listened, along with those packed in the church with me, I was reminded that, inevitably, we'll all have our turn to be the one at the front of the church with flowers surrounding us and our family members standing close by.  People will gather.  A preacher will speak.  Music will be played.  Just like today.  Death doesn't forget anyone.  No one slips through the cracks.  Nobody sneaks by unnoticed. There will be a day for all of us when we will have to turn in our work.  Whether we feel like we're finished or whether we want to make some last minute changes or whether we regret not putting forth our best effort.  In that moment, I was reminded that we'll all have this day when time is up and pencils are down.  It was one of those cold water in the face moments that happens when a younger person dies. What am I doing with this passing time I'm given?  Is it wisely invested in things that make a difference or am I spending it frivolously?   

At the end of this momentary life, it only matters that you got one question right.  Did I ever confess that I'm a sinner who was without hope of ever being saved if not for Jesus, the Savior, who died on a cross to pay the price for my sins and offered me the gift of salvation?  And if I get that question wrong, well, it really doesn't matter about all the others.  The degrees or the careers or the nice deeds I did or all the pretty stuff I gathered up.  As hard as it is to believe, all the things in this world will, eventually, be forgotten except for the ones that had eternal value. The relationship we had with Jesus and how our lives showed that to other people by the way we treated them, every day.

That's where true peace is found. 

It's the only way our lives can make a difference for eternity.

Like Justin's.

"For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life." John 3:16