Thursday, June 25, 2020

Here Today, Gone Today - Martin Wiles

And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment. Hebrews 9:27 NKJV
He was here—and then he wasn’t.
Jack* was my first cousin, eight years my senior. But he had a brother who was the same age as I, and we were good friends. I wished we had lived closer to him so we could have spent more time together, but we got together as often as we could.
Jack and another first cousin loved to aggravate us, but they also taught us how to defend ourselves and how to hunt. Jack was like the big brother I never had, since I was the oldest child in my family.
All of our lives took separate courses. By the time we had reached adulthood and had families of our own, I rarely saw Jack except at Christmas or perhaps Thanksgiving. When the call came that he had died, it had been two years since I had seen him.
Jack had enjoyed Thanksgiving with his family. The next day, he and his only son had gone to do what they loved: play golf. As Jack prepared to putt, he suddenly looked up and fell over backward. His son performed CPR on him and the medics arrived within five minutes, but Jack had died. In today’s world, he died a young man at 66.
As with Jack’s mom and dad—my aunt and uncle—the family asked me to perform the service, which I was honored to do.
As people my age, and near my age begin to die, I realize anew what the writer of Hebrews said: we must die. Not a pretty picture, but reality.
When I was a young boy, time seemed to last forever and everything seemed so large. During the summer, we played outdoors for what seemed longer than twenty-four hours. Now the weeks, not just the days, pass quickly. Each week, before a week has appeared to pass, I say to my wife, “Well, tomorrow is Friday.”
I remember Dad giving me a funeral outline for my first funeral service: life is short, death is certain, and eternity is sure. I have found the first two to be true, and I’m trusting by faith in the third.
What God calls me to do, I need to do … now. My priorities are important … and so is my relationship with Christ. I’m not guaranteed another breath, and each breath I take could be my last—as with Jack.
I hope Jack was ready to meet His Maker, and I hope you are too.
Prayer: Father, may we live each day, ready to meet You.
*Name changed to protect privacy.

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