Nobody Thinks It Will Be Them
This last Monday morning, my wife and I looked out of our window and saw three police cars stationed outside of our neighbor’s house. We saw people going in and out of the house, each wiping tears from their eyes. Clearly something happened unexpectedly there.
I texted one of my neighbors and he sent me the tragic news. Our 25-year old neighbor, Jonathan, had passed suddenly in his sleep. It was a death that has shocked the entire community. This last Friday I stood before a group of family, friends, and neighbors to share about Jonathan’s life. One week ago, none of us knew we would be gathering together for this reason.
Death is like that. It comes suddenly. It’s tragic. But it comes to everyone. Two years ago, Angela and I received a phone call from our dear friend Ashley. Her husband, Ben, a wonderful husband and father, had succumbed in his battle with leukemia. He was thirty four years old.
Last year a good friend of our church, Steve Currinton, who had founded a growing and effective ministry to the addicted, had a sudden heart attack and died. He was 45 and had 5 children.
Last year we also received the shocking news that a graduate of a nearby high-school, an Army soldier in Afghanistan, was killed in a firefight.
All these were young men close to me. They were in the primes of life, suddenly and tragically taken. We mourn when the elderly die, but we accept it as part of life. When young people die it strikes us as unfair, as a tragedy. It’s not something we can ever get used to.
None of us knows when that day will come for us. I’m still a pretty young guy at thirty-three. I’m pretty sure I’ll live to be seventy-or eighty and enjoy long fruitful years of life and ministry. But every young person thinks that. We don’t think we’ll be the ones laid to rest “before our time.”
Moses prayed, “Teach us to number out days, so we may apply our hearts to wisdom.” Nothing helps us get a sober assessment of life and death like losing someone young, someone close to you.
Life has a way of anesthetizing to reality. Entertainment, addictive substances, sex, business are things we use to fill the silence so we don’t have to get real and face life. But we’d be wise to, at times, silence ourselves and ask, Are we ready to face God in eternity? This is not simply a question for those who don’t know Jesus, who haven’t come to put their faith in the work of Christ on the cross. Though Satan does keep the average person from pondering his relationship with God.
It’s a question for those of us who do follow Christ. What will our life consist of? What sort of legacy will we have stamped on our tombstone? Will it be said that we lived for ourselves or for God? Will we give that person who eulogizes us some material to work with?
I want to challenge every young person today. Don’t waste your life in indecision, selfish living, and a God-less direction. Thrust yourself fully on the mercy of God, follow Christ with reckless abandon, and make your life count for eternity.
Because one day your friends and relatives and coworkers will gather to pay their respects to you and you’re life here on earth will be finished. The question is, what are you doing now, today, that will make that day memorable?
Daniel Darling is an author, pastor, and public speaker. His latest book is Crash Course, Forming a Faith Foundation for Life. Visit him on Facebook by clicking here, follow on him on Twitter at twitter.com/dandarling, or check out his website: danieldarling.com.