My grandson has been staying with us this last week while his mother is away on a trip. So in the morning he gets ready for work at a part time job, his grandmother fussing after him to eat his breakfast, brush his teeth and comb his hair.
He is opening the front door to leave, hair sticking out, not combed yet and half awake. In half step out the door he pauses and is kind of looking off into space. And I think to myself, “He is going to come back here and give me a hug.” Well he does…walk back, bends down to me and gives me that hug.
“Last day huh?” “Yea.” “Well have a good day, be careful.” And he leaves.
I’m having a cup of tea and turn to look out the Florida room widows into the back yard and remember something.
Years ago, when his mother was just a little girl my wife and I would pack up for a long weekend at the springs in Ocala. After work we’d load up and drive down the drive way to let Gram and Pop know we were leaving. We’re standing in their living room, my wife and kids talking to Grammy and I look out those same Florida room windows and see Pop standing by himself looking out at the river. Maybe I was told, “Go say bye to Pop” or maybe I just headed for the back door on my own but I did go out and we stood there together for a brief minute or two. Little small talk. “Gettin’ ready to go Pop.” “Ok.” “See Ya when we get back.” “Ok, have a good time. Be careful.”
That was the last time I saw my father-in-law alive. Two nights later there was a knock at the cabin door and an old fella from across the lake who knew where we were, was standing there in the dark telling us Pop had had a heart attack and we should get going. By the time we got back it was already over. Over!
Thoughts like this can lead in a lot of directions but for me this morning I’m impressed by how death is so final and inevitable…for the past person yes, and also for the living ones.
Solomon reflects: “…the dead know not anything, neither have they any more a reward…neither have they any more a portion forever in anything that is done under the sun…” Ecclesiastes 9:5-6 AKJV.
He firms up the finality: “…Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was, and the spirit shall return unto God, who gave it…” Ecclesiastes 12:7 AKJV.
Physical death comes inevitably, its finality characterized by a reality that there are no more opportunities, no more effort. Yet death and its end to opportunity and effort can also visit other aspects of our lives as we live them.
In our lives we have things that are vulnerable and we don’t want to have die. If we are married we don’t want to see it somehow die, or for death to come to the love of, or respect that our children, our friends, our loved ones have for us. We don’t want to suffer the death of other’s trust in us or a loss of a good reputation, things that are not physical but are just as precious to us as life itself.
We don’t want death to come to these things in others towards us…nor to suffer that death in our own hearts, as well, towards others. How tragic the death of these other things in our lives and the knowledge that all opportunity is gone, all effort would be to no avail to bring them back to life.
Inevitable as physical death is, just maybe… it is not so in these other areas. It may hover about, be a real possibility but is it unavoidable, unpreventable on our part?
If we are yoked with our Creator and respond to His directing we avoid… have a defense against… the pitfalls that bring death to the greatest living treasure in our lives, our relationships with others. We can be lost to others, others lost to us, in spirit as well as in body. But, and, when we do fall short there is hope that all effort and opportunity is not gone because in Yahweh’s, Abba Father’s ways, forgiveness is included making restoration a real possibility. It is His pattern for all His creation and we’re living in it.
Be His child. Walk with Him as with a close and constant friend. Get to know Him. Listen to and obey His Word and the prompting, however seemingly unnecessary it may seem in the moment. From the start avoid the regret of missed opportunity or effort, for a word or two, a brief moment in loving or respectful attention, or more. Be willing to forgive and be willing to seek forgiveness.
Father. Gracious and loving, just and forgiving Father, may we become one with You, be studied and practiced in Your instruction and be sensitive and obedient to Your promptings…to glorify You and preserve life in our hearts and minds and in the hearts and minds of others, forever.
We thank You that as long we live “under the sun”, Father, yoked with You, there is guidance for preventing falling short, forgiveness when we do and the gracious gift of another opportunity to bless you and to bless one another.
Thank You Dear Father.
In Yeshua’s name we pray,
May God’s love be in us all.