Monday, October 19, 2015

Psalm 139:16b -The 31 Day Challenge

"All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be."
Psalm 139:16b

Recently the community where I work faced a tragedy when a well-respected and beloved young man died in a car wreck.  When something like this happens, it affects everyone in the community.  It brings people together in a way that nothing else does.  But still, it leaves a lot of people wondering why something like this could happen to someone so young.

Of course, I don't have any answers or explanations for that.  I don't know why bad things happen to good people.  I don't know why some families experience a number of tragedies and others don't.  I don't know why some families lose several loved ones in a very short period of time.  I don't know why some people go to the doctor for a headache and then end up hospitalized with a major mass in the brain.  It can be frustrating to get tangled up in the lack of answers and the seemingly unfairness of it all.  

When I think about all these things, there are three basic ideas I want to remember.

1). Love my people.  

Life is precious.  Tragedy or illness could be right around the corner for someone I know.  Whether it be a blood relative or someone I see at work, I want to strive to treat them well.  It seems almost trite to even try to type that out, but I don't think it can be said enough.  Don't take anyone for granted.  Say thank you.  Say I love you.  Give a hug or a high five.  Tell somebody they are doing a good job.  Ask for help when I need it.

2).  Lean into God.

God is the author and creator of life.  When my life is uncertain or unfashionable, that is when I need to lean even more on my Everlasting Father.  Ask the hard questions--He can handle it.  In the midst of the worst possible circumstances, Job cried out to God and asked, "Why me?"  I think that story teaches about grief and loss and how to deal with it.

Jesus told his followers that we will have trouble in this world.  We were never promised an easy life.  Quite the opposite, in fact.  He tells us to take up our cross daily and follow Him.  Sometimes that cross is grief and unexplainable loss.  But He also told us that He is the Prince of Peace.  Even when nothing makes sense or we are struck with a thousand questions, there is a peace to be found in His arms that is unlike any other.  Don't pull away from God; lean into Him.

3). Make it count.

I don't know how many days I get on this earth.  Maybe I will live as long as my Great-Grandma Ellis or my Great-Aunt Fern did.  Maybe tomorrow is my last day.  I don't like to think about that.  But what if it is?  How do I want people to remember me?  Was I mean-spirited and gossipy?  Did I put my own wants and desires before other people's needs?  Or was I gracious, loving, and kind?  Do my words and actions point people to God, or drive them away?

I cannot see the big picture of how all the pieces of our lives fit together or how much time we get.  But when faced with circumstances that leave me shaken to the core, I want to remember to take care of my people, to trust in God, and to think about how actions affect those around me.

Dear Heavenly Father,

Thank you for today.  I pray that I  use it wisely, and see it for the gift that it is.  Thank you for the people you have put in my life.  Thank you for your grace and mercy that gets us through difficult days.  Amen.

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