Sunday, April 8, 2012

Every Breath You Take

Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring. 
Proverbs 27:1
Proverbs 27:1 became a stark reality in my life last Monday. I began work in the usual way I did every Monday, arriving shortly before 6 am to receive and unload an ice cream truck. After talking to the driver and his helper and telling them I needed to wait to unload when my help arrived, I ran off to grab the hammer and chisel so that I could chip the ice away from the dock door.

I work in a freezer where the temp is -10 degrees and when it rains the moisture gets under the crack of the dock door and causes ice to form under it. It is therefore necessary to chip the ice away before the door can be opened. I stood there, with my back to the truck, chipping away at the ice. I never heard the truck backing up. I suddenly felt myself pinned against the dock, unable to breathe, and was sure that the life would soon dissipate from my body if I stayed in that position much longer.

I didn't see any bright lights and my life didn't flash before my eyes. But I'll tell you what did happen. During those few seconds my priorities suddenly snapped into focus! In that moment it didn't really matter how much money I had made, or what kind of car I was driving, or even that we had just bought and was getting ready to close on a new home. None of that mattered in those few seconds.

Though I was scared, mainly thinking about Faith and the kids and what would happen to them once I was gone, my main thoughts rushed to my spiritual priorities. I began wondering if I had done "enough" for the Lord for the time He had given me on this earth. I know we are not saved by our works but for good works (Eph 2:8-10). But still, I couldn't help but think if I had done enough. It's true what they say about experiencing some near-death tragedy: you never focus on what you had but who you are and the impact you have had. After all, this is what Solomon had concluded when he stated, "The whole duty of man is this: to fear God and keep His commandments." I suppose I was thinking more in that moment of that reality than anything else.

But there is another side to this story. You see, fifteen years ago, on April 13 1997, at around 7 pm, God reached down from His throne in Heaven and ripped the heart of stone out of cold hearted young man and gave him a heart of flesh; He gloriously regenerated him and caused him to believe the glorious good news of the gospel in order that he might be a clean vessel of use for the Master. He caused him to see that he had violated His perfect standards and that he was, by nature, a child of wrath awaiting the judgment of his crimes against the Most High. He was, according to God's own Law, a thief, liar, adulterer, and so much more. But by His marvelous grace the young man (I'm sure you've guessed by now who it is) came out of darkness and stepped into light.

And so, this is what I have been pondering so much over the last week; and especially on this Resurrection Day. I've read through 1Peter several times this week and my mind continues to rest on this verse as I come to it:

1Peter 1:3  Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead

It is God who took a filthy man like me and has given me hope; it is the Father who caused my dead soul to believe; it is Love that has shown me great mercy!

And so, this Easter weekend I am thankful to God for every breath I take. I will rejoice in His goodness and tell of His mercy and wonders. His praises shall ever be upon my lips and those I meet will be afforded the same opportunity of life that was given me on that Sunday evening so many years ago.

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