I always thought that if I was in a place, far from home — and by home, I mean any place of comfort — and if I was serving Jesus, then I would be fine with dying. But in the last two months; my sister’s house was broken into, my friend’s car was broken into, my car was stolen, and my brother was not a mile away from the San Bernardino shootings, I am realizing that danger is present and the world is evil. Not new news, but it’s news.
My mind probably skipped a few too many beats, but I started to think about dying. I always felt like it would be okay to die if I was serving the Lord, like it would be for a good cause. Which, undoubtedly is true, it would be.
But what if it’s not that? What if I died in a car accident? Or in a mass shooting? What if someone broke into my house to steal our TV, or whatever we have that might be something worth stealing . . .and then shot me? How could my death be fair? How could my death be acceptable? I would feel violated. Like they took something that was mine. Like life is mine, and I want it, and you don’t have a right to take it from me.
But I started to hear myself, and realized I needed to take a step back. This isn’t just wrong because my life is not my own. My life IS the Lord’s. He bought it with his blood and he does have ownership over it and nothing happens on this earth that He has not permitted. He has even promised that those who seek to save their life will lose it! But those who give their life for Jesus will gain eternal life. THREE TIMES he said this (Luke 17:33, Matthew 16:25, Luke 9:24). Wow. Do I have some surrendering to do. Isn’t it funny how I thought I had that one settled in my mind? Sure, I can die. But it better be for a good reason, Lord. I must’ve forgotten that His ways are higher than our ways, and his thoughts are higher than our thoughts (Isaiah 55:8-9).
I realize now that it is only by God’s grace that I would hold to nothing in this world and cling only to Christ. Isn’t that what I agreed to when I asked Him to be my Savior? So, this might mean being called to another nation and spreading His word of truth. But it ALSO means accepting every cup that He would hand to me, and drinking it fully with a heart of thankfulness. What if my cup is to die in a car accident? Sudden, with no dying proclamation of the gospel or character-building grace in recovery? Just, suddenly. What if my cup is to be harmed during the course of a home-invasion? If something like that were to happen, would I drink it and say, I trust You? Or would I spurn the Lord and ask Him, ‘How can you allow this evil to come into my life?’ Or, “How can You give me this cup?”
Not really. I can’t ask any of these questions. I have been given the gift of eternal life. I’ve been given the gift of relationship with the Author of the world, and my salvation! I’ve been given the ability to walk with a trust in God, who I can call my Father. That is my gift. But This is His life.
I heard and my heart pounded,
my lips quivered at the sound;
decay crept into my bones,
and my legs trembled.
Yet I will wait patiently for the day of calamity
to come on the nation invading us.
17 Though the fig tree does not bud
and there are no grapes on the vines,
though the olive crop fails
and the fields produce no food,
though there are no sheep in the pen
and no cattle in the stalls,
18 yet I will rejoice in the Lord,
I will be joyful in God my Savior.
19 The Sovereign Lord is my strength;
he makes my feet like the feet of a deer,
he enables me to tread on the heights.