January is half over and I find myself reflecting on how well I am keeping up with my 'resolutions'. In relative terms, things are going pretty well. I've joined an aquafit class three times a week, I'm spending more time in Bible reading and prayer each morning, and I'm keeping up with my writing and promotional goals. Pretty good, huh?
Yes, things are going well so far this year - for me. What a shock to hear just a few days into the new year, that a young friend died unexpectedly of cancer. When I first heard of her death, I thought she must have been involved in a car accident. As far as I knew, she was a healthy, robust, 23 year old with her whole life ahead of her. To my surpise, I found out that she was diagnosed with cancer just days before Christmas and died during the first week of January, only a little more than two weeks later. Although the 'C' word is never welcome, I am sure her friends and family expected to have a little more time with her than that.
It got me to thinking. Did she have time to reconnect with the Lord? I recall a commitment made years ago at a youth group meeting, but was it genuine and did that prayer come to mind in her last moments here on earth? Did someone take the time to visit in the hospital during those busy days before Christmas, or were their good intentions put on the back burner until after the busy holiday season? I can hope for the positive alternatives, but only God in His sovereign wisdom knows the answer.
Life on this earth is so fragile. So unexplainably unpredictable. My own goals for the new year seem rather shallow in camparison to the grief this family is now facing, and could be just as quickly snatched away in the twinkling of an eye. And yet, I believe God wants us to set goals for ourselves. In His wisdom, He keeps the future secret, yet gives us that desire to plan for it, come what may. I sometimes laugh when I hear certain 'doomsdayers' lamenting the coming date of 12/12/12. (Didn't you hear? It's the end of the world!) But God's word says no man knows the day or the hour - of the end of the universe or our own personal demise. Instead we are exhorted to "fear God and keep His commandments", doing "whatever your hand finds to do, with all your might..." (Ecclesiastes 12:13, and 9:10)
This is sound advice, and reminds me of Violet Nesdoly's Jan. 12 post on prayers for a writer. In everything we do, we need to dedicate it to God and pray for his blessing upon it. And so, this is my prayer for each of you for this coming year. "Fear God, keep his commandments, and whatever you do, do it with all your might!"