Yesterday, at about 7 o’clock, our men’s group sat in stunned silence after our prayer meeting got out. What began as a night where we spoke of the many recorded answers to prayer from our group and encouragement to a brother who needed it ended with heavy hearts. I received a phone call, which we prayed for, over a family that had lost its young son. The weight and tragedy of it just hit us hard; every man there had kids and grandkids around the boy’s age. When I went home and talked about it to my wife and kids (by then, the whole community of two towns had known what happened), we, again, sat for a time in stunned silence. The boys know the kid, and he had been on our oldest son’s archery team. Each of my children processed it in their own way, but one thing we knew we had to do: pray for the family and friends of this boy.
As time passed, we got to talking, my oldest son considering his own life, his friends and family, and my next oldest thinking about the boy’s parents and his friends he leaves behind. The discussion turned to the fact that we’re all on borrowed time. Not a single moment more than the one we have now is promised us, and we’re all just a breath away from meeting Jesus. This led my boys to considering that if all we have is a limited amount of time, we must use that time to try and get people to Jesus now, before there’s no time left. Their classmate knew Jesus. He gave His life to Christ last year, but how many people don’t know Him? This really got me thinking: if my kids can come up with something like this, and think about these things, shouldn’t we? Shouldn’t the Gospel be our priority?
The world we live in is unsafe, unfair, and broken. Our ancestors broke it, and we keep repeating their mistakes. Jesus is the only solution, and He is but a breath away from all of us. Shouldn’t we use each borrowed breath for His Glory and to bring others to Him? I hate that it is tragedy that gets us thinking this way. I hate that it is when things go terribly wrong, and we are heartsick and heart broken that we only then consider the eternal questions and answers. We need to make each and every day count. We need to focus on the lives around us, and live each day to the degree in which God calls us to live, not safe and comfortable, for none of us can escape the inevitable, but bold, fearless, and sacrificial, loving everyone around us so that they may know the hope beyond this world that is found only in Christ Jesus. We should comfort one another, care for one another, build one another up in a way that brings us to the feet of the only one who can save us. Our hope is not in this world. It is found in the One who waits just a breath away.
1 Thessalonians 4:13-18
But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep. For this we declare to you by a word from the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord. Therefore encourage one another with these words.
Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”
And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” And he said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give from the spring of the water of life without payment. The one who conquers will have this heritage, and I will be his God and he will be my son. But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death.”