What if today is the last day of your life? What if today is the last day in someone else's life that you love? What if today is the day the world ends and Jesus returns?
These are challenging questions to ponder. No one wants to think about anything good coming to an end, especially our own lives. I distinctly remember when I was ten years old, lying in my bed late at night having just received the news of my grandfather’s death. That night, for the first time in the dark of night, I also realized that one day I too would close my eyes and never awaken. I know it sounds like a morbid thought, especially coming from a ten-year-old, but it’s a reality we all must face. It was the first time someone close to me had passed away, and little did I know then, that five years later another even more painful parting would shroud our family.
I once heard the Bible described as Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth. The Scriptures help us live wisely as we journey from this life to the next; they help us remember that we are mortal, and that everything around us, including ourselves is passing away.
“Teach us to realize the brevity of life, so that we may grow in wisdom.”
Many years ago, on a snowy night in December, my older brother Mark was killed suddenly when a semi-truck hit his car as he travelled home from college for his winter break. That intense period of grief and anger for me as a teenager forced me to face the reality of mortality in the most painful way. It also began the most important time of questioning and searching for the deeper meaning and purpose of life.
A few years later, when those answers finally came through the Person of Christ, my life was no longer oriented toward “just this life”, but rather the goal of heaven and life with God forever. And even though my life will most assuredly end one day, it’s no longer a realization that fills me with fear, dread and sadness, but with immense joy and expectant hope.
So as we await Christmas this year, and the final coming of Jesus (any day, really), let’s remember our destiny—where we are headed, so that each day, even the most ordinary one, can be filled with gratitude, joy, and purpose.
What if today is the last day of your life?