“Their royal Highnesses The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are very pleased to announce that The Duchess of Cambridge is expecting their third child.” Thus, an unborn baby in Great Britain dominated Labor Day headlines even in America. Carl Sandburg was right: “A baby is God’s opinion that life should go on.”
In other headlines, the North Korean crisis seems to be escalating while Florida has declared a state of emergency in preparation for Hurricane Irma. As the news reminds us each day, life is both precious and tenuous.
Over the holiday weekend, I witnessed two strange sights that reinforced this balance.
I was driving in the country and came upon a field covered with healthy trees. In their midst stood a tree just like the others except that its leaves were turning brown and falling from their branches. Clearly it was dying while its neighbors were thriving.
Meanwhile, Dallas has been in the throes of an unusual gasoline shortage. Word got out late last week that Hurricane Harvey could cause massive gas shortages. As a result, thousands of people in our area rushed to gas pumps. My wife and I witnessed one such line stretching for hours. They exhausted the local supplies and created a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Consider my experiences as parables.
Like the tree in the field, we are dying. Every day brings us one day closer to the end of our earthly lives. In fact, we have been dying from the moment we were born.
Said differently, we began our life journey with a “full tank.” Some of us have larger tanks than others, and some get better gas mileage than others. As a result, some will travel farther and longer than others. But we will all run out eventually.
Here’s my point: remembering that we are dying is the best way to live.
Our secular culture fears death so much it euphemizes it (people merely “pass on” or “depart this life”) or ignores this inevitability. But Christians know that the destination is better than the journey. We know that helping others choose the right destination is the highest purpose of the journey. And we know that our Lord will care for us until he leads us home.
Disasters like Hurricane Harvey remind us that the future is known only to God. When we trust our suffering to our Father, we learn that his presence is even more powerful in the midst of pain. And we find joy in the journey that is available only to those who walk in the Spirit (Galatians 5:22).
In today’s First15, Craig Denison writes, “To live for heaven is to throw off whatever weight would entangle us to the depravity of this world and seek sustaining joy that comes down from heaven to fill our hearts.”
Will you live for heaven today?