If I Die Tonight
Most of these events involve deaths that just "shouldn't" have happened.
A patient, too young, who's completely incapacitated and on life support.
A friend of a friend, who died suddenly in an accident.
A sweet baby who never got to take her first breaths.
And a story of a bride who lost her father only hours before her wedding.
All of these stories sound like mistakes. They feel like they shouldn't have happened.
But as a believer, saying that things "shouldn't" have happened, would almost be to insinuate that God made a mistake.
Would it not?
And sometimes we do. Sometimes when death or tragedy catches us by surprise we want to yell and scream and demand an explanation because we just know God had to mess up on this one. I've definitely done it.
But the truth is, if I were to die tonight, it would not be too soon. And it would not be a mistake.
God already knows when He will call me home and how this life will play out.
He has purposes for each and every one of us - even those who turn and run from Him - and once those are fulfilled He may decide to take us out.
Kind of like when Coach Kerr puts Steph Curry back in a few minutes into the 4th quarter. Then they break away a little more and increase the lead, and he pulls him back out and lets him rest. Curry fulfilled his purpose. He scored and helped his team to score and helped them win the game.
Once we have fulfilled our purpose, God calls us home to let us rest in His presence.
But we do have some say in this.
We have the choice (free will) to either do the good works God has set before us, to live safely in our comfort zones relying on God for very little, or to go against Him completely and live for our fleshly and earthly desires making things and people our gods.
When we choose to rely on God for very little or to make gods out of materialistic things we still will not die "too soon" but we will have wasted our lives. Because though God uses all people for His purposes, He desires that we all come to know Him and live for Him. And when we turn away from that, this life as well as our eternal one will not be fruitful, peaceful, or hopeful.
Often times we say someone died too soon because we truly feel that they did. And that's only natural. There is a part of our soul still rooted in the Garden of Eden where death didn't exist and we did live in peace, forever with our creator. And we desire that. But we don't live in that world any more. Sin broke in and death became a part of our lives. But Jesus promises that this death - this consequence of our sin - has been defeated. He promises us that He is coming back to reclaim and restore us back to how we were meant to live - in the Garden of Eden, in perfect harmony with each other and with our great God.
There are two teams competing for our hearts in this life. One team's coach tells you to just be comfortable. To do what makes you feel good. To get the quick and easy points that look cool and make for good highlight reels. To do as much as you can to make you look as good as you can. But the other team's coach is saying, we will not win this on our own. You must work as a team. You must follow my lead. All of our points will not be easy, but I can promise you, that we are going to win. I have already defeated the worst.
That team, is the church. A team of broken people headed by a perfect coach, Jesus Christ.
My challenge for us is that we would live in such a way that people would not say we died too soon. That we would live in such a way that if we died tonight, His purposes would be fulfilled. That we would have used our gifts and shared His story consistently and persistently so that all we encounter would have heard and seen His love.
In the book of Acts when the apostles are arrested they specifically point out how the Church still continued to grow. Even through trial and persecution and their absences, the Church grew because of how dedicated they were to living for Christ.
I pray the same could be said about all of our lives.
You have a life. Live it. You have a gift. Use it.
And make His glory known.