Sunday, March 29, 2009

When Time Is No More

I heard some sad news this weekend. One of my daughters favorite school teachers passed away in his sleep. He was young, married with a family, seemingly healthy, with his whole life ahead of him. I am sure he had made plans for the coming week, like tests to give, papers to grade, family activities, and the like.

But now, there is no more time for any of that.

To me, what is most disturbing about someone dying, is the immediacy of death. The finality of their existence. The reality of the end of a life, to be no more.

Every time I hear of someone passing away, especially in a sudden, unexpected, or tragic way, I find myself wanting reassurance that they are in heaven. Even if I did not personally know the person who died, my mind still wanders towards their salvation. I desperately want to believe that they are actually in a better place, pain-free, peaceful, forgiven and walking with Jesus.

But sometimes, we just dont know the answer to that question. We can only hope that the person knew Jesus while they were living, instead of meeting Him for the first time on their judgement day.

But I do know that I dont want to have regret. I hope that I do not one day find myself wondering, "was I the person that God desired to use to share Jesus with them? Did I miss a divine appointment to help that person find eternal life?"

A couple years ago, my oldest daughter had a friend who was murdered in a home robbery incident. As the thirteen year old boy threw himself in front of his toddler sister to protect her from the gunshots from the robbers who barged in their front door, he was shot, and killed instantly. I will never forget her words after she had processed the news.

She had tears in her eyes, and said that she wished she knew whether or not he was saved. She wished that she had shared Jesus with him, or at least talked about her faith with him, but instead, she was left wondering if her words could have made a difference in where he would spend eternity. Such a young mind, with such a profound understanding of the importance of having a relationship with Christ.

I cant even imagine how many opportunities I must have surely passed up in my life, to share Gods truth with someone who needed a Savior.

The hard truth is, that so many times we allow the fear of rejection and embarrassment, lack of self confidence, or the feeling of inadequacy, keep us from telling people about our Savior.

We always tell ourselves that we can talk about it with them later - when we are ready, when it is more convenient, or when the time seems right. But sometimes, time runs out and we are left with regrets and the disturbing thought that maybe they are not walking with Jesus.

God made it clear in His Word that he put us here to serve Him, not the other way around. God is not present in our lives just so that He can watch over us, protect us, and bless us, but instead, we are placed here for Him. We are given life so that we can help others find life in Him. That is our true one and only purpose this side of heaven.

Since we know we all fall short of the glory of God, and that God does not expect perfection out of us, blaming our inability to share Christ on our personal insecurity or fear of failure is a pretty poor excuse when it comes to considering whether or not someone will spend eternity in heaven, or eternity in hell.

We can glorify our God and bring a smile to His face, simply by trying to share His love with others and spread the good news - with a sense of urgency. He will take care of the rest. We are simply to say yes to being the vessel, the mouth piece, of God.

We never know when life for us will be no more; when life for our spouse or loved one will be no more; or when a casual acquaintance at work or in your neighborhood will be no more. Nobody is guaranteed another breath or another day. Remembering that can be our motivation to get rid of those inhibitions which are keeping us from living out our faith and impacting the lives of others, for here and eternity.

A couple weeks ago my pastor encouraged the congregation to look for the divine appointments that God schedules for us during the week. He encouraged us to remember that the good news, is awesome news, and that it is meant to be shared; that people need to be blessed, comforted, hugged, encouraged and loved on. It was a reminder to not be so focused on our life, that we forget the reason we have life.

I encourage you to seek out and be aware of those divine appointments in your life this week. If God has put someone in your life, remember that he/she is there for a reason. Could you be the one to impact their eternity? Could your obedience to step out of your comfort zone and plant seeds in someones hearts about the love of Christ, be what God has planned to bring them to glory?

As you have read this post today, I would imagine that God has placed someone on your heart that needs to hear about Jesus. Maybe He has brought someone to your mind that is not saved, or someone whom you are unsure of their salvation. And if no one has come to mind, take a moment to pray and see if God places a name on your heart.

Then act on that holy prompting today. Believe that the Holy Spirit resides inside of you, and has the power to work through you to save someones soul. Break down those walls of fear, and step out in faith.

You never know when that person on your heart could run out of time.

**My thoughts are prayers go out to the Crego family. May God take you through this difficult, painful time and bring comfort in your time of mourning. I pray God blesses you immensely and that you can see and feel His presence in the coming weeks. **

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Joyful said...

Powerful message Tracie!

Several people have come to my mind. I'm even thinking of one nurse in particular who my entire family has grown to love so much over the past 4 weeks as we're visiting Dad at the hospital. We hug her every time we see her and we've been developing a wonderful friendship with her. Maybe the Lord is keeping Dad in the hospital because He wants to use us to show Himself to her.

I already live with the regret of missing such an opportunity. I had a dear friend who committed suicide a couple of years ago. I was just beginning to share more of my faith with her on a personal level, and she was beginning to ask questions. She even told me one day that she was starting to think that 'faith' might be her answer. However...I kept looking ahead to the 'next' visit, the 'next' opportunity, the 'next' ladies day at the church she was attending with me, the 'next'... and the 'next' never happened.

For the longest time I blamed myself and was haunted by visions of seeing this precious friend tormented in hell. It was horrendous. I don't know what happened in the last few moments of her life, but as far as I know she did not come to faith in Christ.

Since that time the Lord has helped me become more bold in my witness, but your writing here has given me another injection and renewed passion to be more intentional - especially as I spend my days at the hospital again this week. May the Lord open an opportunity to share my faith and may He receive all the glory.

Praying for you too Tracie. Thanks for sharing your heart. Praying for this your teacher's family and the students and friends impacted by this sudden loss. May his death not be in vain. May it open opportunities for witness and ultimately, salvation.

God bless you,

B His Girl said...

Unexpected death always makes us reflect on our own lives. I'm sad for daughter's teacher. Our lives are to reflect Jesus' light into the darkness. When we are abiding in the Lord, He will direct our steps and give us the words to say. Sometimes I think we feel we are abiding and we are merely touching base with Him. My prayer is that I remain in Him. A harvest of fruit is sure to be found if I do that. B