Tuesday, September 01, 2009

A Day of Life and Death

This past week marked the birthday of Judah, our firstborn son. He has been such a blessing and joy in my life. It is no understatement to say that my life has been utterly changed by his presence. I have been sanctified because of God’s ability to speak to me through Judah’s life. On the same day as Judah’s birthday, I attended a funeral for the sister (Carol) of a lady (Olivia) who works out at the same gym as I do. Finally, August 30th would have been my father’s 65th birthday, but he died an untimely death in 1980 at the age of 35.

And the story of life goes on. When I was sitting at the funeral for this young woman who passed away, the Spirit was working on my heart concerning the fragile nature of life. I celebrated life, and death, on the same day. But this wasn’t just an everyday, normal situation. You see, the woman at the gym, Olivia, is not a Follower. She has a friend who works out with her, Betty, that is. These ladies really bring it at the gym, they go all out. We bonded instantly because all 3 of us are there 4-5 days a week, at 6am!! They would ask me to give them pointers. I would engage in conversation with them. I remember the first meaningful conversation I had with the both of them. Of course, like many at the gym, they asked me about my tattoos. Betty, the Christ Follower knew what they were…Olivia, did not. So the conversation took the natural turn, “Are you both Followers?” I asked. Betty exclaimed, “Why yes of course!!” Olivia did not respond. This interaction was months ago. Flash forward to about 2 months back. Olivia’s sister went into a coma. She was devastated. Yet, she turned to both Betty and I for guidance, comfort, and prayer. At least once a week, the three of us would find a corner in the gym and pray for the recovery of Carol. If you can imagine the scene..a younger white guy praying with two middle aged African American women…it was something to behold!! But God is constantly bringing me into these types of relationships (more about the guys at the gym to come in a future blog post). During these prayer times only Betty and I would pray…but Olivia was extremely grateful; extremely encouraged. Day by day Carol would make progress. In fact, a week before her death she gave the most encouraging signs of recovery…yet, she would pass. Olivia is heart-broken. Since the death just occurred, I have not been able to help Olivia process it at all. I wonder how God will use this to glorify himself…will Olivia turn towards God, or away from Him as a result of this? Always during our prayer time, no matter how encouraging news was, we would always pray for God’s glory to be had. I believe in my gut that it somehow has and will be. I am hopeful and prayerful that Carol’s death will bring forth new life in the form of Olivia’s salvation.

Now 31, I am beginning to see more and more life/death moments. Lots of kids. Lots of suffering and dying. I remember being 22 and not giving a crap about this…I would drink as much as I wanted, party as much as I wanted, do dangerous activities as much as I wanted, and never think about whether or not what I was doing was glorifying God, or if I would even wake up the next morning..I took it all for granted. Now, everyday when I awake, I think in my heart, wow, I have another day on this earth..Thank you Lord! Between Carol’s death, Judah’s birthday, and my father’s death at 35 years old, I am becoming more and more aware of the blessing of each day and how God desires for me to live each day to the fullest and to proclaim His Majesty and Salvation and Love, because today is all we are promised….