Posted by: mikenicholsblog | May 26, 2010

for to me …

a good friend was recently recounting the many ways his life has been touched by loss in the first half of this year.  one very dear friend, and several others who were family or friends of a close friend.  one who had lived a full life, and was blessed with a quantity and quality of time after diagnosis that allowed him to put all of his affairs in order, share significant time with his wife, children, brothers and sisters, and even plan his memorial service.  one who you could argue was just beginning her life, having a great impact for the kingdom educating and inspiring the next generation of school children, swept away in an instant in a tragic accident, missionary parents and brother in the field, far from her.  a dear friend losing a battle with cancer, that just a year ago was told she had won it.  a light-up-the-room sort of life in her prime years, leaving behind a devoted husband, an eldest son who will graduate from high school in a few more weeks, and two beautiful young girls, ages 8 and 10.  a father whose son dropped him at the hospital early in morning for a routine biopsy appointment.  His son saying “call me when you’re done”, not knowing that before lunch he would be making funeral arrangements.

As I was reading in John 8 early this week, I stopped after verse 20, struck by a phrase I had remembered from just a chapter earlier.  As Jesus is boldly confronting and exposing the Pharisees ignorance of the Father, verse 20 ends with … “Yet no one seized him, because his time had not yet come. ”  Just a chapter earlier, we find Jesus giving another very spirited discourse which ends with very similar words … “… but no one laid a hand on him, because his time had not yet come.” (John 7:30).

Jesus’ earthly ministry was barely started when we first hear mention of this theme of His timing.  Mary “forces” Jesus into the spotlight at a wedding feast, to which He responds … “Dear woman, why do you involve me?My time has not yet come.” (John 2:4)  And there are many other references throughout the remainder of Jesus’ ministry where he waits, or walks and speaks boldly, or chooses to go a different way, or slips away undetected.  All in His divine understanding of His timing.

What can all this mean to my friend?  How do I connect a text that speaks of Jesus’ time not having come, to people near and far to my friend whose time has already come?  The answer is simply this … so many times when facing loss, our minds and hearts go immediately to the question of “why?”.  And having all faced loss at one time or another in our lives, we know that answers to the “why?” questions almost never come.  I can reasonably presume that Jesus, being fully God, was aware of the number of His days.  And while we do not hold that same knowledge, we can rest in the assurance that this is already decided.  This assurance is not fatalistic, with a focus on some final event.  Rather, it is an assurance rooted in the truth that everything here is temporal, and this place is not our true home.

I rejoice with my friend that each person “lost” from his life, and that of his friends, was a believer.  And share in his joy that all are truly home now.  I also comfort my friend in that same way with the assurance I have spoken of.  And also offer it to each one of you who believe and have received Christ as your personal Savior.  And if you have not, I would love to talk with you and share how Christ has changed my life and given me this assurance.

To all within the “sound” of this post, I pray that you allow this assurance to inspire in you, the boldness to show Christ to everyone you come into contact with, every waking moment between each new morning He gifts, and every sunset He blesses you with.

As for the moment you are breathing this breath, your time has not yet come.  Live out loud the words of the apostle Paul in Philippians 1:21 … For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.



Responses

  1. Thanks Mike —

    May God Bless you abundantly for all the wonderful ways you touch the many lives who know you.


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