And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment. Hebrews 9:27I remember being a teenager. I thought I could drive 120 mph down the Holland straight-stretch and make it out alive. Clearly that was true but very stupid. Please don't ever try that.
I was naive. I thought I was invincible.
I remember being late for school and traffic being backed up. My sister took to the turning lane to pass multiple vehicles so we could get to class on time (sorry to rat on ya, Sis.) :)
I remember letting a friend drive my car and her driving into the oncoming traffic lane for approximately 1/2 mile passing numerous vehicles in a row. We laughed and laughed.
Invincible. (Don't do the above either).
I remember going to hang out with my friend and finding myself at a keg party. Everything imaginable was going on there. People so drunk they were spilling their next drink they were attempting to mix. They then got in to cars and drove themselves home.
I remember hanging out at the frat house, witnessing all kinds of godless living.
They felt invincible.
And maybe I just need a disclaimer: don't do any of these things. It was stupid on my part. I do realize that you can be at a party or frat/sorority house and not participate in what's going on. I was one of those people. I never drank, did drugs, or had sex. But it wasn't wise.
Abstain from all appearances of evil. I Thes. 5:22Here lately, it seems that I can't check Facebook, text messages, or watch TV without being bombarded by devastating news. Like the text that someones dad died of a heart attack. Like waking up to find that just 30 minutes down the road 2 trains collided head on. To scroll through FB and see that a young man fell asleep at the wheel, hit a tree, and was killed... this after his parents have already buried 2 children. To see that Robin Williams committed suicide. To read about the thousands of Christians being slaughtered by ISIS. To see how Israel is being attacked while we sit idly by. To get text message after text message from the newspaper telling me of 2 dead in a collision, truck overturned, house fire on such and such street. To read about the ordeal in Ferguson, MO, the Ebola outbreak killing thousands, to hear of someone in my class tell of her 2 month old grandson dying of SIDS.
It seems it never ends.
It's real. As one of my pastors used to say "Statistics show that 1 out of 1 die."
It's true you know. Baring that Jesus doesn't come back soon (which seems closer than ever), we're all going to meet death, face to face.
Yet I'm willing to bet that none of us sit around thinking on that thought. Each day I wake up, get my kids ready for school and send them off with hugs and kisses expecting that in 7 hours they'll be safely back in my arms. Do you know how many children for which that hasn't been true? School shootings, bus crashes, children being run over....
I get in my car, drive to the store, drive 14 hrs. to Texas, to church, to work, always expecting that I'll return safely. Yet everything I see and hear and read flies in the face of this.
I get up each morning thinking that I'll be here to greet my husband at the door, cook dinner for my family. But how many people never make it through the day?
How many people fall over dead of a sudden heart attack? How many people die in car crashes? How many people get a fatal diagnosis? How many people are robbed and killed? How many are dying in their sleep?
Thousands upon thousands each and every day.
Yet we live as if we're invincible. We live as if that won't happen to us. We're going to live until we're 92 and die peacefully in our sleep, hand in hand with our spouse, who also died peacefully in their sleep. The Notebook, anyone?
It doesn't happen like that, at least not very often.
Each and every day we wake up could be our last.
Brain aneurysm. Heart attack. Car wreck. Act of violence. Blood clot. SIDS. Allergic reaction. Tornado. Straight line winds blowing a tree on your house. Random person opening fire in a movie theater. Plane crash. Industrial accident where you or someone you love works. Fire.
Do I need to go on?
Now, am I promoting that we walk around being morbid all the time? Of course not.
But do I think we sometimes need a good dose of reality? Yes.
And the reality is that death could be knocking at our door sooner than we realize. No one wakes up and says "I think I'm going to die in a wreck today" but tragically, thousands do.
I remember sitting next to my husband at the computer, planning a trip to Disney World when I got the call that my grandma had died of a heart attack. I remember riding to Wal-Mart with my mother-in-law when I got the call that they had found my grandpa - dead of a heart attack. I remember laying in bed as a 12 year old girl, hearing my dad say "She's dead? You're sure?" I remember being a 4 year old little girl sitting through my Granddad's funeral in the arms of my cousin, Mike. I remember getting the call that my adopted Grandma had had a brain aneurysm and wouldn't make it much longer, sitting beside her in the hospital room and saying my goodbyes. I remember getting the call and hearing the words "It appears you've had a miscarriage." I remember laying on a table, waiting excitedly to see our sweet #4 and instead seeing a blank screen and a mass (our baby) in one of my tubes. I remember standing beside my best friend as she buried her son. Sitting in a funeral home watching our other friends bury their son. I remember standing beside graveside after graveside of funerals my husband has preached.
Death is certain my friends.
And just as certain as death is, so is eternity.
I'm reminded that there are millions upon millions who don't know Jesus. I'm reminded that there are millions who claim they do, but don't, and that one day they'll stand before the judgment throne and hear "Then I will tell them plainly, I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!" Matt. 7:23
And that scares me. Makes me sick to my stomach. Because there are family and friends and acquaintances and people I don't really like (let's just be honest, you have some of these people too) but still love enough to want their eternity in Christ sealed that fit into one of these categories.
So I guess the bigger question is: do you know? Do you have a deep down, 100% assurance that if you were to die today that your eternity is sealed in Christ?
And please note: I did not ask if you prayed a prayer, walked an aisle, are on a church roster somewhere, or if you've been baptized. None of those have ever saved anyone apart from repentance and belief in the completed work of Christ.
Given that death is a certainty, shouldn't you know?
Given that most deaths are sudden and unexpected, shouldn't you take Paul's advice and "Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith." II Cor. 13:5.
Because after all, I'm not invincible.
Neither are you.