When I was a teenager, I had a friend named Leah. She didn’t go to my school; I think she was homeschooled. Her brother was in my class, and she and I would hang out together during soccer games or when we were both waiting around for who-knows-what after school.
We weren’t super close, but we enjoyed talking and passing the time. She was one of those people who smiled a lot. She was sweet and fun to be with.
And then, she was in a car accident.
And she died.
She was seventeen. So was I.
It was shocking. And heartbreaking. I had faced lots of family deaths in my young life, but I had never known anyone my own age who died. Even though we weren’t particularly close, her death felt closer than others I had experienced. Her passing was surprisingly difficult.
The sudden end to her life struck a chord of reality inside of me. It happened so unexpectedly to someone who was just a kid. Someone who was an awful lot like me.
I felt that same way a couple days ago when my husband came home and told me about a woman from his company who just found out she has cancer. She went into the doctor’s office with a cough that wouldn’t go away. She came out with a diagnosis that will change, and likely shorten, her life.
She is fairly young. Probably a few years younger than me.
And it strikes a chord of reality, once again.
LIVING WELL TODAY…PREPARING FOR TOMORROW
It’s easy to think that this life we’re living is going to last forever. We get caught up in the house, the bills, the kids, the busy schedule, the joys, the struggles….all of it. And we forget that life is a vapor.
We forget that life is about more than just today, but that today may be all we have.
Today matters. The question of what we would do differently if we only had a year…or six months…or a day to live could be more than hypothetical. We just don’t know.
And, yet, while today could be the last for any of us, we can’t have a “live for today” kind of attitude. We don’t want to squander our time here on earth, whether it’s one more week or eighty more years. We don’t want to come to our final moments and think that it was all a big waste.
LIVING WELL TODAY
If today is all I have, I want to do what matters for reasons that matter. I don’t want to waste my time or money on things that will quickly fade away.
Caring for my home with a servant’s heart matters because it blesses my family. It teaches my daughter what being a wife and mom should look like. It teaches my sons what to look for in a wife. It makes a place of safety and comfort where my husband can relax and be refreshed.
Spending time with my kids matters, too. The books I read out loud, the games I play over and over, the problems I listen to, the hugs and smiles I share. They all add up to a collection of memories that will soften my children’s hearts when difficulties threaten and the Bible stories feel more like tales than truth.
Loving my husband now, in the “better” and “richer” and “health” is also building a strong foundation. One day, the “worse” and “poorer” and “sickness” that we spoke of in our wedding vows may come to our door. It’s then that the kisses, the conversations, the flirting, the embraces, the private tears, and the inside jokes will become a defense against whatever confronts us.
Looking outside of myself and sympathizing with the needs of others will never be wasted time. Praying for those who are hurting. Giving to those in need. Reaching out to the lonely and helpless. It all matters for eternity.
PREPARING FOR TOMORROW
I am not afraid of death itself. I don’t know what my future holds, but I know who holds my future. I have confidence that nothing can come into my life outside of the perfect, loving will of God.
I have nothing to fear in death because Jesus already faced the frightening part for me. He answered for all my wrongdoing and failures. He died on the cross to take the punishment for every sin I ever committed or thought about committing.
When I gave my life to Him, He took away my sins and replaced them with his perfect life and death. Now, when I stand before the Almighty God, He will see only the blood that Jesus shed. He will see that my debts have been paid and my sins have been covered. He will open his holy gates and allow me to worship Him forever.
But although I don’t fear death, I understand that the process of dying can be painful and heart wrenching. I want to be ready. I want to be prepared for whatever may come.
In Noel Piper’s inspiring book Faithful Women and Their Extraordinary God, she tells the story of a woman named Esther Ahn Kim who was facing certain imprisonment for her faith under the Japanese occupation of Korea. Esther spent her time preparing for the persecution that was to come.
She ate rotten scraps of food so she wouldn’t be shocked by the horrible slop she would be fed in prison. She slept on a cold, hard floor so the jail cell wouldn’t be an assault to her usual comfort. And most importantly, she began memorizing large portions of scripture so she would have God’s Word hidden in her heart when the written pages were taken from her.
I want to follow her example. I don’t want to cling so tightly to the comforts of this world that I fall apart if they are taken from my grasp. And I want to hide God’s Word in my heart so His thoughts fill my mind as naturally and as often as my own. I want to prepare my heart to face the uncertainties of life, and death, with grace and hope.
We don’t want to walk through struggles empty handed and unprepared. We need to build up our resources today so that we are ready for whatever may come tomorrow. We should pour ourselves into the people and things that are important so that we have a strong foundation if, or when, the ground begins to shake.
Do you know who holds your future? What are you doing to prepare for trials to come? Let’s chat about it in the comments, or you can contact me privately, if you prefer.