“The Lord hath called me from the womb; from the bowels of my mother hath He made mention of my name.” (Isaiah 49:1)
I was 13. We had just moved three provinces from the place I called home. The house we bought was tiny. And by tiny, I mean so small that even my 2 year old sister could barely fit in the bath tub. Our bunk beds consumed the living room. Needless to say, given that we were a family of seven, we needed to do renovations 😉 So, the house was lifted and a basement foundation laid. Then we started adding on to the house so that there was space to include a kitchen. I’m not a big fan of heights but when your house is under major renovation, and I need a place to sleep, one learns quickly how to climb up and down a ladder.
I remember being on the roof of the addition and looking down at the basement. Two floors down. No FLOOR of protection between the roof and the basement concrete. I did what any 13 year old (kind of dramatic ;)) girl would do. I panicked. Of course, I wasn’t going to get away with those teenage dramatics but I learned a lesson that day that has stuck with me.
My dad looked at me (and I’m guessing I was probably getting on his second last nerve … lol;)) and said “Marion, when it’s your time to go, it’s your time to go. It could be when you are 105, 60 or 13. You could be walking down the street, lying in bed or fall off that roof you’re sitting on. Not one single thing will change that time. So until that time comes, stop complaining and do what you need to do.”
Knowing me, I’m guessing I probably kept on complaining that day but gladly, I didn’t fall off the roof;)
I think of this lesson often because so many times when we lose someone or someone we care about loses someone, our first question is why? We ask why someone who had so much to offer in this world has moved on into eternity. As my dad had said, “their time had come.”
I raise this because this past weekend one of my very good friend lost her mom. When I heard the news I was stunned, heartbroken, and sad. I cried. Her mom was involved in her kids lives, her grandchildren’s lives, work, church and missionary endeavours. Indeed, she loved Jesus through and through.
I knew her from my hair cutting days, and from hockey where she watched her grandson and step grandson play. My heart broke for my friend because she just lost a big part of her life. Like so many who knew this woman, I asked why???
Just as I myself did when I had three miscarriages. Each one happening at different points in my pregnancy and admittedly, each one a terrible blow to my heart. Each baby lives in heaven cuddled by our Saviour but other than for a whisper of a dream, and a name and date that clings to my memory, I never knew them. But I still loved them.
Even so, I am not alone. When I was around 15, a family who attended our church lost their little boy. He was three. He had leukemia. His mom told me that when she was ready to give up and die with him, her little boy told her that everything would be okay because the man (as this young man called the Lord) would take really good care of him. The little boy did not stop there. He said that this same man/Lord was going to take care of her too. She couldn’t see this man (as he described) but she knew he was referring to Jesus. As a consequence, she was able to keep on going — heartbroken — but stronger nevertheless.
This brings me to my point. When we lose someone we love, we lose a piece of ourselves as well. But until that time, it is important to make a positive difference in the moments we share with others. My friend’s mom made a difference to other people every day. Not just in her own community and church but also in places like Haiti where she often went on missions trips. She had ‘kids’ in Haiti that loved her every bit as much as her own. For the people who loved her, her time was too short. Still, her impact was huge.
My friend whose little boy was only on this earth for three very short years changed people’s lives. It’s been over 20 years since his death, and yet, I still remember his smile, his laugh, and the joy he brought his mom and dad. His big sisters adored him. His mom telling me the story of how Jesus would take care of her has always been my reminder that in our darkest hour, Jesus is always by our side. He never leaves us nor forsakes us.
From my own experiences, my babies never had an impact on anyone but me. I loved them without even knowing them, without seeing their faces or holding their hands. I didn’t get to feel them move in my belly because I wasn’t far enough along in my pregnancies, or hear these baby cry. But they existed. They were alive for a few short weeks until their souls returned to be with Jesus. From whence these babies came. Those babies serve as a reminder on my days where the challenges are many, that I might not have seen Him or touched Him or heard His voice but that doesn’t mean Jesus isn’t very real.
Thus, at the end of the day, we all have a certain amount of time on this planet. The time spent here on earth might not be as long as we want, or as long as the people we love desire to be with us. But as we learn in our life journey is that we need the faith to believe that Jesus is our Lord God and Saviour. And as such, we should love Jesus first and foremost, with all our heart, soul, mind and strength. And when we focus on His precious love for us, we can become that flow through to others when they are in need. Like my friend’s mom whose many lives she touched. Like my other friend’s little boy whose smile to the world (in spite of his sickness) revealed an inner joy within his soul.
If only our contributions in this life also made a significant difference in the lives of others, even long after we ourselves have moved on into the arms of our Saviour. Something to consider in our haste to win a race in a world that continually falls short of the prize in the heavenly — the only goal that will really matter when all is said and done.
As the apostles asked, “What good does it do for a man to win the world and yet lose his own soul?”