Here in Australia there is a simple phrase that is often used...."lest we forget..." It is used most often when people remember those who have been killed at war, protecting the rights of others.
My question tonight is why do we forget? Why do we forget the reality of life....
The reality of life we so often forget is that we all die! Now before you all respond in shock just think ...it's true, we live for the 'today' and seldom think of eternity and the consequences of each and every action we do. When last did you come to the end of a day, wondering if you had lived this day as if it was your last? We live in such a well medicated society that we have very little contact with death. It is an isolated incident that effects few as we cruse through life. It most often only affects us when we grow older! Unlike the olden days or less privileged societies today... we forget what death actually is from day to day. We do not have to have 6 children to get 2 who survive to adulthood. In American pioneer times there was such a thing as 'mail order brides' in order to cope with looking after a widower and his children! This is so, so weird to our thinking today isn't it! Death was a more imminent part of life then and still is in many parts of the world today. Yet we forget in our Western culture the reality of it's existence!
I have lost 2 best friends to cancer. I still miss them and sometimes I wonder what one would think about this or that, I wish I could ask the other about something else, or I miss an encouraging word I know they would have in a situation and wish for their tender prayers for me and my family. I stay in touch with some members of their family, and pray for their children especially. The reality is they have already entered heaven's gates, they have started their forever life with God and ours is not that far in coming! How many years have you got left at best? Heaps you say. Well, I am in my early 40's and cannot believe how quickly life can pass you by....I still feel young inside but the reality is my body is not what it was 20 years ago (besides being decidedly plumper, I still feel shocked at times when I cannot jump out of bed as I used to be able to. For years my husband said, just wait until you get to be my ages.....well it happened, I now creek as I get out of bed!) I am aging and cannot go on living forever, none of us can! For Christians there is no fear in death, for it is the stepping stone, the bridge to more life, eternal life, forever presence with God, to perfection...
A friend from school lost a darling daughter to cancer, some years ago. Last year a precious gentleman from our church died before he could take pleasure in many happy years of retirement. Presently a friend in NZ is fighting cancer naturally as there is nothing else that medicine has to offer. The Aunty of our weekend wedding faces her last days. Another friend awaits results from a lump that has been removed. And my own hubby, Douglas, awaits results from a spot that was removed from his finger this week and in reality wonders if it is melanoma again. (He has all the statistics at his finger tips, being the brilliant mathematician that he is!) The waiting is always hard....and yet our whole life is a waiting for death to arrive in reality - we just chose to forget this. Why does this weird "forgetting" not shock us to the bitter core? So much so that we live our lives more seriously, more earnestly? I know there is nothing we can do to earn our way to heaven...it is a free and generous gift from God. But this is not bout 'earning', this is about abundant living. If we could only keep our eyes focused on our goal of eternity, we would gain a better perspective of God, and we would be so awestruck with who He is that we would live a different life.
I cannot tell you the profound impact the deaths of dear ones has had on my life....it has taught me to lean on God more and to live my life better. I thought I would never shake this passion to live well....and yet I did. And I am left shocked again at this arrogant flippancy of mine, such foolishness. How can I forget?
Here I am again facing the death of sweet people I love, and awaiting the verdict of others and I physically tremble in anguish as I cry out to God... for although I have no fear of death and completely trust in God over life and death for myself and those I love...I am left shocked at how easily I can forget and how far I fall short in my zeal to love and serve God better from day to day.
"Lord, forgive us for living like we are going to live forever here on earth, forgive us for the arrogance to think we can live how ever we like right now, with no consequence. Forgive us for not taking time to know you intimately and deeply and passionately.
Your grace exceeds our imaginations, for each breath we take is a gift from you and yet we think we are so arogantly self sufficient so often in reality. We think we are close to you, when in reality, we have not a clue just how much we take for granted, how much we miss in our understanding of you. We allow petty selfishness to creep in and crowd out our passion for you and for loving well to your honour and glory. We forget that life here on earth is a mere mist...here today and gone tomorrow...drifted into eternity like a morning vapour.
Forgive us Lord for forgetting that our hope is in you, that your gift of eternal life is glorious, unimaginably generous, fabulous beyond our human comprehension. Help us to live life thinking always of eternity. Help us to live passionately as if each day is our last. Help us to trust you in all things, for you are the Creator of all things, you hold the universe in your hand, you form the delicate morning dew drop on the perfectly perfumed rose, for the sheer delight and joy of such beauty. You see the sparrow fall and care, you know the number of hairs on every head in the world and with no effort. You touch and create life in each womb that bears a child. You are indeed awesome and magnificent, you are indeed worthy of our intense passion each and every day of our lives. Help us to live life in all it's fullness...to live for eternity!"
Let us remember ...
the reality of life is that it ends in death for us all,
lest we forget...
to live a full and rich life, a truly meaningful life, to be found only when right with our awesome creator!