Much of the country watched in shock as Damar Hamlin, an athlete in his prime, collapsed at midfield during a NFL game from a heart attack that required life saving measures. One week later a young lady here in Las Vegas complained of chest pains and went to the sidelines during a flag football game where she was rushed to the hospital and later pronounced dead. Just a few days after, again here in Las Vegas, another high school athlete died from a similar cardiac episode. In October last year my twenty-one year old grandson, Brian, died in his sleep. How do we address such seemingly premature deaths?
We live in a world where medical technology can extend life, and therefore we expect to live to be eighty years old or more. Anything less is viewed as abnormal. But the truth is all around us. Any of us can die at anytime. None of us are guaranteed tomorrow. We define age as a number based on that 70 or 80 year mark. A twenty year old is considered young while a fifty year old is considered older. But if a twenty year old is to die at thirty, he is actually old, while a fifty year old may live to be ninety, he is relatively young. How do we process this?
Job 14:5 reads, “You have determined the length of our lives. You know how many months we will live, and we are not given a minute longer.”
James 4:14 reads “ How do you know what your life will be like tomorrow? Your life is like the morning vapor, it’s here for a little while, then it’s gone.”
And Psalm 144:4 reads” Man is like a breath. His days are like a passing shadow.”
Are these passages from the Bible intended to discourage us? No, not at all. If considered correctly, they instead raise two questions:
- When my time comes, am I ready to meet God or am I in danger of eternal punishment?
- Without knowing the number of my days, am I living them to the fullest and am I making a difference in the lives of others?
There are no free passes to Heaven. There is but one way to enter, and that is through a relationship with Jesus Christ. The world will tell you differently, that there are numerous ways to obtain eternal bliss. Jesus said “ I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” It’s that black and white, no room for interpretation. Having Godly parents, doing good for others, staying out of trouble, these are not enough. When we come to die, God will ask us one simple question: did you know my Son?
And for those of us who call him Lord, are we living up to the high calling of being the personification of Jesus to others? Are we living life as if our time is limited, making memories, loving our families and living as witnesses to God’s amazing grace? When I consider the fragility of life, I want to be certain I can answer these questions with a resounding “yes”, should I never see tomorrow. Can you?