Thursday, October 1, 2009

Life is precious

Tuesday afternoon around 4:00 I was on the phone with my good friend John. He called to tell me about his fishing trip in Charleston. Monday, he and a coworker had a local guide take them around the waterways looking for fishing spots. He was so excited about all the good spots they found. He told me he now knows where to go for Spot Tail Bass and where we can catch some Sheephead. He told me he was going to plan a trip for me, Charlie and Bryan to go with him to Charleston for a day of fishing. He joked and asked how many fish I caught when I went with Charlie. (knowing I have never caught a fish with Charlie!) A couple of hours later I am getting ready to go to our Tuesday night Bible study. As I am about to walk out the door, my wife is receives a phone call and gets this look of concern on her face. I ask what is going on and she tells me John has just been rushed to the ER and they do not know what is wrong. An hour or so later I get an e-mail that says he has a bleed on his brain and that he is on a ventilator in ICU.

How quickly life can change! How many of us assume that when we wake up each morning it will be like every other morning. We will "do our thing" go to bed, get up and do it all over again. Based on my conversation with John he had no idea anything was wrong and I did not pick up on anything, no slurred speech, no loss of thought as we were talking, he seemed perfectly healthy. The first passage that came to mind when I got the news was James 4: 13, 14

13 Now listen, you who say, "Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money." 14Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.

How often I neglect this passage, I don't really want to be reminded that my life is like a mist and that we are only here for a little while. We are all making plans for what we are going to do in the future. I am planning on going to Denny's retreat Saturday, some of you may be planning on going to the ball game this weekend, John was planning on taking Cole to the UNC game for a guys hangout day Saturday.

The second thing that came to mind is a quote from the Truth Project. Over the summer our Tuesday night study went through The Truth Project and the moderator asked the following question: "Do you really believe that what you believe is really real?" Do you (do I) really believe that God is in complete control? Do we really believe that He is sovereign, that He is omniscient, that He loves us and wants the absolute best for us? When things are going well it is easy to say "yeah!", "absolutely!" but when life gets a little crazy and we begin to lose control of our situation our answer tends to go from "Yeah!" to "sure He is, I think" or "well yeah I guess He is" or maybe even "you know, I'm not really sure right now". Let me remind you and me about the sovereignty of God:

After all that Joseph went through in his life he understood the sovereignty of God:

Genesis 50: 20 20 You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.

Job, a man of much suffering, was chosen by God to suffer yet God was in complete control of his circumstances. God offered Job to Satan but told him he could not take Job's life:

Job 1: 8 Then the LORD said to Satan, "Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil."

Job 1: 12 The LORD said to Satan, "Very well, then, everything he has is in your hands, but on the man himself do not lay a finger."

King Nebuchadnezzar, after spending time roaming the earth as an animal finally realized who God is:

Daniel 4: 35 All the peoples of the earth are regarded as nothing. He does as he pleases with the powers of heaven and the peoples of the earth. No one can hold back his hand or say to him: "What have you done?"

Finally, the ultimate goal in anything that the Lord allows us to go through is to make us more like His son and to bring Him glory.

Philippians 2:13 for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose.

II Corinthians 4: 16-18 16Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. 17For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 18So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

I hope you will join me as I pray for John and for his recovery. His last report was a good one. Please join me as we pray for Kim and the kids. Selfishly, I want to, one day soon, sit on the boat with John, Charlie and Bryan in Charleston as he tells us about what God did through all of this. I want to have to interrupt him on occasion saying "hold on John, I think I have got a big one on the line!" I want to look over at Charlie and say, "why didn't you ever put me on fish like this!" I want to look over at Bryan and ask for a set of old dental pliers so I can get the hook out of the mouth of the giant fish I just brought in the boat. Once I have my fish on board I want to look back at John and say "now finish telling us about the goodness and faithfulness of God".

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