So teach us to number our days, that we may present to You a heart of wisdom. Psalm 90:12
I close my eyes and I’m in the desert of west Africa. The sun so offensive and brutal, the locals cry out “windiga zaabdame!”- the sun is hitting me! We skip from shade to shade trying to avoid the heavy hand of its rays. Rapidly and without warning, the sky grows dark, and a smell of dampness dances across my nose. The sky warns- ‘you have 5 minutes to find cover.’ Everyone obeys. You don’t want to get stuck in the forceful downfall of this rain. There’s a frenzy to rush off the roads toward home or the nearest shelter. Soon, the water pours out of the clouds at an alarming rate and magnitude. Floods rush through any open path, washing everything clean that had previously accumulated 4 inches of dust. Even the trees and shrubs get a bath, making everything a little greener… including the ground. In some places, what used to be a sandy desert floor is now a spectacular field of green. As the rain departs, there’s a breath of life- grass emerges from a seemingly dead desert floor. What beauty it displays and what charm it radiates against the brown on brown on brown backdrop of everyday desert life. And yet, how quickly it vanishes without the rain to sustain it. Rising in an instant, and in a blink it’s gone. The dust settles, and life to the eye is just a bit more dull again.
I open my eyes and I’m in America. Still in awe of how quickly a life can vanish like the grass in west Africa. Every day I think of a man who I loved like a father, who loved me like his own daughter. He was tall and strong, wise and compassionate. He was a man who loved the Lord with an un-dying passion and taught me how to live out the gospel in everyday life. He gave and sacrificed much for his family and anyone in need. His eyes were full of life, so trustworthy and kind.
In the blink of an eye everything changed.
Dear cancer, you didn’t win. All you did was take him home to the One he loved with his whole heart. Even though you caused him pain, and though we’re still left with its effects, even this heartache is temporary. This life is a mist; a vapor that appears for an instant and soon is gone. You may have the appearance of power, but it’s my Lord Jesus who reigns. It’s my Lord Jesus who defeated death and allows him to live forever and ever in fullness of joy and peace, to the glory of God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
And soon I will see him again in glory.
“But we do not want you to be uniformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep. For this we declare to you by a word from the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord. Therefore encourage one another with these words.” 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18