December 31, 2006

Only one life . . .

Life is short. It seems more so as those birthdays and milestones pass by. Today is another one, the last day of this year. A quick glance through my calendar reminds me of some events, a normal list of weddings, funerals, baby showers, doctor and dentist appointments, meetings, deadlines. We traveled just a little, my husband golfed as much as he could. I taught quilting classes, a writing workshop and every week a Bible study.

The days that have a lingering impact are June 15 when my husband found out he has CLL and August 15 when our granddaughter arrived home from her five years away at university and moved in with us.

I am not a person who dwells much on the past. Sometimes I’m embarrassed because I cannot remember events that others in the family consider significant. I’m not too much into planning the future either. I used to, but became frustrated at the curves life throws, and decided that planning was okay, but don’t hold it too tightly because God usually has something else in mind.

For me, right now is the most important time. What do I do at this moment? What is God saying? What is He asking? What needs can I meet? How can I be obedient?

From thinking like that, and from listening to His Word, I can see that what I do right now can have ramifications far beyond this life. For that reason, past, present and future may or may not grab my attention, but eternity should hold it. What happens now that will last forever has the greatest value of all.

For today, my devotional book offers this verse from Acts 13: “David, after he had served his own generation by the will of God, fell asleep, and was buried with his fathers.” This line won’t fit on a tombstone, but it is a short summation of one life.

If I could write my own epitaph, what would I want on the marker? “She led ___ souls to Christ” or “She gave what she had” or “Not I but Christ”? That question challenges me.

This verse is a challenge for the new year in another way. How can I serve my generation in the coming year? What is God’s will for me in ministry in my church, and to my family, friends and those around me? Life is short. Much of it is wasted. I want my life to count.

Another thought that comes out of this verse is that whole brevity of life thing. David fell asleep and was buried. It happens to everyone. I don’t want to end this year with negative or gloomy thinking, so need to remember that even though David left this earth, he is not dead. He was a man after God’s own heart, and inhabits eternity with Him. He has no more tears, or sorrow, or crying, or pain, but walks on the banks of the river of life and experiences the light of God and eternal victory over sin and death.

Eternal hope covers the bad stuff of the past, the challenges of today, and the uncertainty of the future. I might plan, but God holds the flashlight on my path and directs my steps into His light. The end of the path is certain, but His promise is total eradication of all darkness, confusion, and sorrow. Whatever this coming year brings, I am so grateful that He holds that guiding light and will never leave my side.

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