We never know when tragedy might strike. Often times we see events on television, read about them in the paper and online, or hear them on the radio and think tragic events will never come knocking on our door. Then when we come face to face with a bad situation we are quickly reminded of just how precious life is and how quickly it can be taken away. There's even a Latin phrase, memento mori, that means "remember your mortality" that seeks to bring attention to the fragility of life.
I had that reminder this past week as I had the privilege of ministering to a medical office that performs kidney dialysis for their patients. They came to work thinking that particular Wednesday would be like any other they had experienced. But routine quickly turned to horrific when one of the workers stepped outside the front door to discover that the overnight security guard had been gunned down in an apparent robbery attempt. Even though the workers began to immediately provide medical treatment the young man did not survive his injuries and was later pronounced dead at the hospital.
Two of my church family members who work at the center contacted me soon after the attack and asked if I would be willing to go and provide spiritual support for the workers of the facility; it was my honor to be able to respond and lift up Christ in that tragic situation.
I felt so blessed that everyone made me feel welcome and many of the workers came by and spoke to me about how they were processing the event. I was even able to pray with them and call them back the the Savior during that dark hour. They were so thankful to have someone there and I was thankful to be with them in their time of need.
While this horrible event is not uncommon around the Metro Detroit area, it does not make the loss any less sad or important. There is now a family without a son, a brother, a cousin, or a friend. The loss was compounded by the fact that the young man was such a well-liked and lovable guy who did not even live in the area. Sad indeed.
As I thought about the event myself after leaving the facility I was reminded of just how much we need Jesus every moment of every day. Yes, we should worship the Lord each Sabbath and be faithful in our church attendance for sake of worshiping the Lord in spirit and truth, but living for Christ each moment of every day is critical in making sure that we do not take life for granted at any time. Like this young man, Jesus too was killed without cause. He was illegally tried and then condemned by those who should have heralded His ministry. He was openly mocked, beaten, and eventually crucified upon what some have called the cruelest device of men: the cross.
When I speak to families after a loss I always encourage them to take something away from the death of their loved one other than just the loss its self. In my opinion there is no better way to honor our loved ones than to live our lives to the glory of God so that we may see them again when Christ comes to take us all home to be with Him.
Yes, we are mortal and this mortal life can be taken away in the blink of an eye, but if we live to serve the God of heaven then we have more than death to look forward to; we have an eternity with Jesus and the redeemed. But in order to receive eternal life we must surrender to Christ and allow Him to be both our Savior and Lord. It is my prayer that each of us will make the decision every day to follow Jesus and live for Him both now and into eternity.
Dear Father in Heaven,
Today, we praise You for giving us the gift of life on this earth and the promise of eternal life through Jesus our Lord. Please forgive us for the times that we take You and the precious gift of salvation for granted. Please help us to life each day in honor of You and teach us to remain faithful that You might save us at last when Christ comes to take us home. We praise You and ask these things in Jesus' name, Amen!