At almost any time of the day, we are only a moment away from disaster.   Whether it is a letter or phone call with bad news about our health, an accident, the unexpected death of a loved one, a broken relationship, becoming trapped by an addiction, losing our job, or any number of other things that may blindside us in life. If we lived in constant fear of what disaster might happen next, we would be imprisoned by our paranoia, so we most often live as if the next minute will turn out just fine, without a second thought as to how precarious we can be between life and death. Do you ever think about these things, or ever wonder ‘why am I still here’ with all that has happened in your life?

Lord, what are human beings that you care for them, mere mortals that you think of them? They are like a breath; their days are like a fleeting shadow. Psalm 144:3-4

When we are sidelined by something as common as the flu, or any number of other setbacks to our plans I would call ‘minor emergencies’, we are reminded in a gentle way that we are not always in control of what may happen next. Whether it is the weather in the form of a blizzard that shuts everything down, or a family emergency that makes us drop everything to help out someone in need, we are not without trials and setbacks in all areas of life. Most of us put on a good face and never acknowledge most of the trials and frustrations in our lives to everyone but those closest to us. We don’t want to give the appearance of being weak or not in control, but at times that is truly where we are.

I lift up my eyes to the mountains—where does my help come from?  My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.   Psalm 121:1-2

The righteous person may have many troubles, but the LORD delivers him from them all. Psalm 34:19

Most of us have had some close calls in life where it could have easily gone another way without much effort. Many have experienced a near miss while driving or an accident that easily could have taken your life. I remember when I was learning to ski and came down a hill way to fast, where I was just able to make a turn on the edge of control to keep from crashing into a bunch of trees. We all have a list of things that make us wonder what would have happened if things had gone just a little different.

Surely God is my help; the Lord is the one who sustains me.   Psalm 54:4

When disaster hits, we see a variety of responses. We are reminded of amazing abilities to go above and beyond what we thought was possible with how emergency personnel and regular people responded during the attacks on 9-11-01. There are others who run away or shut down when they don’t know how else to respond. They may try to cover over their pain or medicate it in unhealthy ways. They may lash out and blame themselves, others, or God for their trials. We may also reach out toward a helping hand that we might not have otherwise noticed. How do you respond when reality hits? What have been your past reactions?

Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse.  Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.  Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited. Romans 12:14-16

Let us look at these reminders in our lives to direct us to what is most important, and to use our time wisely. If you were told you had 5 days left to live, I’m sure you would find a new urgency to talk to some people and complete some tasks you have been putting off for too long. Live life with an appreciation and a heart of gratitude at all times, whether things are going your way or not. Be an encouragement and a source of strength to those in your life who are going through a difficult time. You don’t always have to have all the answers for everyone, but find a way to show that you care. Be generous with love, share truth found in the Gospel, and appreciate each day as if it were your last!

Yours in Christ,
Clark