Sometimes the morning dawns and other times it sleeps on while we watch its bed wondering when the sun will rise. Last month came and went like a storm that swept away pieces of our lives in a long steady rain called, “death”. Death left us for a season but we know it will return again soon so we will remember how to batten our homes and prepare for the next time.
Nights are now filled with strange dreams of people we knew, or never knew, asking questions that can’t be answered and employing us at tasks that cannot be completed because we wake up to find it was just a dream. The morning still asleep I wander downstairs to find some instant coffee and the world silent. Outside the window it is dark but the dog doesn’t stir so I know there’s nothing out there, just the damp slump of a morning too early with its September pallor and singing insects.
It is at these times I know I am really human. I knew it all along, but mornings like these bring to the surface that the stuff that makes the soil is the same that makes me. Like a snail in its shell we humans are confined to a body that has come from these kindred elements of earth. Amazing as humanity is, when our house finally gives up we are without a place to live and we have to go. Our moment of life snuffed out, so it seems, and they stand by the casket talking about our house as though it was actually us.
If I see daylight today I am blessed with another day of living here. So I will do my level best to appreciate it. I will breathe, feel, see, and sense the creation this moment while it is day. Night falls every twenty four hours to remind us that there is a thing called, “the end”. The fact that we are alive at all means that Someone has blessed us with an individual life and I am duty bound to find out who He is and what He wants. I cannot be so willfully ignorant to believe the world and humanity is a cosmic accident, anymore than I can believe that my wristwatch was formed in a volcano.
My life is not mine, but it is a gift. My hands find things to do that no one else can do and I must do this with the strength given to me this moment. It must be done with care and concern that whatever I do touches the rest of you. I am not a victim at all, but a recipient of a gift known as “living”. Above the rest of creation, mankind is obligated to care for it and each other: during those times when I pity myself for not getting my fair share of life I must repent and get back to living.
Surrounded by people and situations a human must understand what is inherit to their kind. Eventually, and usually very early, we find out who we really are. Our age is full of people who feel victimized by this fact. Their gender, ethnicity, status, level of intelligence, level of physical health, depth of emotions, and many other such things, are not what they would like to be. So many of us rebel against this and it is one of the biggest mistakes a person can make in life. We must embrace who we are and live our days as a man or a woman, wealthy or poor, healthy or ill, in a place that has its limits.
We must live well, as if this day is going to be our last, and it may be. Chasing phantoms in our dreams will only result in unanswered questions and undone tasks. When we awake to find ourselves alive we raise ourselves to find the blessing of life staring at us in the mirror. We are not here to make money, become famous, or receive the biggest applause. We are here to reflect into the darkness the light of life. Life has a Source and if we have not discovered that we will live aimlessly, to win the next match, catch the biggest fish, and have the most cash. These things mean nothing when the storm comes and are swept away in the flood.
I am aware of men who believe that this Source of life is marketable and they try to sell it. They design systems that are supposed to tap into it and then offer it to others at a cost. Each of them has their angle and I suppose as humans we are inclined to be men of enterprise. However, even though I myself think I know how our Creator does what He does I must remember it is just theory. His own Son instructed His disciples that the way is narrow that leads to life and few find it. This means the life that God gives is discovered and precious. It is not dug from the ground, nor is it raised from human emotion or hard labor. It is offered to us by grace. It is free. Do not buy it if someone offers it to you at a cost. It has been paid for and those who understand this live lives of gratitude and embrace their calling. They are the followers of Christ, who is the exact human representation of God.
This point is the one that men usually miss. That Christ is the example of what humanity is supposed to be. He is often understood to be a religious figure in a religious world. But He surpasses all of this with one exceptional action that no none has repeated, nor ever will: a resurrection to eternal life. Not just coming back from the dead, as some of us may have experienced, but permanent resurrected life. All of us feel death and cannot stop it from happening. Momentarily we may be revived with technology, but we will re-die like it or not. But Christ resurrected and lives forever as the life and the light of men.
Mysterious as this seems, man has been given a death sentence and we are summoned at the will of the Creator to leave the world at some point in time. During this life we have the opportunity to experience many things, but death is very final. When it comes everything stops and all that is ours is left behind, swept away in the storm. What awaits for us is determined already in the mind of God: judgment. We will not endure this judgment by defending ourselves, we will come up short. Christ offers to all men eternal life that is free for simply following Him.
The price was His own body and blood, the receipt an empty tomb.
This is not for sale. It is not on the theological auction block to the highest bidder. It is free to those who believe, and those that believe follow Christ. They assume their position in this world and live their lives with whatever God-given strength they have. They learn about their weakness and accept it. They find themselves forgiven and they share it. They prove they are unworthy and offer themselves anyway. They are corrected and change. They are humbled yet they rise. While the world passes away in the flood they find high ground in their Savior and seek those who will reach an arm toward the Rock they stand upon.
Life is yours and it is to be lived, long or short. Its meaning is understood when we are young and dependent upon someone else to sustain us. We continue this way though when we become mature we will not admit it. We become the strongest, richest, or most victimized. Our excuse for selfish existence is wrapped up in the fear of not being able to otherwise survive. When we die, we are remembered for doing and being and all that is left on earth is dirt. Can you console yourself with this? I cannot. I plan to go on living, and therefore I have already begun following Christ. No cost, you still live, just not for yourself.
“I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me”. Galatians 2:20