In An Instant
Updated: Jun 3, 2019
This has been a hard week, but good. Full of life and love and plenty, but also touched by death and destruction. I know I am blessed, despite how I may feel, but am burdened by the temporal nature of this life and how so much can change in an instant.
We should live open-handed and prepared, with the full realization that we don’t know what’s in store for later today or tomorrow. I am reminded by James, the brother of Messiah:
You do not even know what will happen tomorrow! What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.
The passing of a sick loved one, while it may be a relief from suffering, leaves a gaping hole. “It hurts so bad,” said my best friend as she waited at the cemetery this week for her mother’s casket to be lowered into the ground.
Our daughter called from Hawaii yesterday, sobbing, as she and the small community she lives in grapple with the accidental death of a beloved friend and neighbor: “We don’t understand.”
There is just so much we don’t see in this world. Our multi-dimensional universe is filled with amazing truth and wonder, and also with cracks and gaps. And though much is revealed, much is still concealed.
Approaching the end of his life, Moses—the man that spoke face to face with God—addressed the Israelites:
The secret things belong to the LORD our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may follow all the words of this law.
“Secret things” remind me of my favorite song from the movie The Prince of Egypt, “Through Heaven’s Eyes”. If you haven’t seen this movie, you should! If you haven’t read the story behind it, that’s even better! (The book of Exodus.)
I am smooshing together words from the song but these resonate with me:
“A single thread in a tapestry makes the pattern of the grand design . . . you must look at your life through heaven’s eyes.”
I am fascinated by the process of rug making, the intricacies of warp and weft and how a tapestry is painstakingly created. In this life, we can’t possibly see the full potential of the tapestry of our life.
The rabbi and apostle Paul says something similar in a letter to his brothers and sisters in Messiah in Corinth, Greece:
Now we see things imperfectly, like puzzling reflections in a mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely.
The “then” to which Paul is referring he also calls “the perfect” two verses earlier: a future reality that awaits when and where everything will be revealed. Jesus calls this “the kingdom” in Luke 12:32, and says his Father is “pleased” to give it to us!
We certainly can and should live in the kingdom now! And as we await the full reveal, we should not be arrogant about the time we have.
In the same message, Yeshua/Jesus warns us to reconcile accounts quickly (v. 58), know his will and do it (vs. 42 & 43) and expect him any day (vs. 35, 40 & 46).
In this really important discourse, he speaks to fathers, sons, mothers, daughters, in-laws, farmers, religious leaders, business managers, crowds…
I tell you, my friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that can do no more. But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear him who, after your body has been killed, has authority to throw you into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him. Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God. Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.
after serving in the nursery (love, love, love) at Shema and enjoying a restful Sabbath nap, I received a harrowing phone call from our son, “Mom, there’s been a car accident.”
My husband, son and younger daughter were stopped in a traffic backup on the way to Holland, MI, when a car traveling about 50 mph slammed into the back of them without ever hitting his brakes.
“I was in the back seat, dozing off, when I felt a huge jolt. I heard my Dad yell. My head slammed back then forward. My brother yelled. I was shaking. My head was aching. I was confused. I felt a bunch of stuff poking me. The whole back window was shattered, glass was all in my hair and around me.”
They all walked away, terribly shaken, with minor bumps and bruises. Tomorrow they will all be very sore. Bella, my mom and I remember this from the rollover accident that we walked away from in 2011.
I rushed to the scene today, tears streaming, and embraced them each with great relief and praise in my heart, “Blessed are you, Lord our God, King of the Universe, for sparing them great injury and death.”
The couple in the car in front of them saw the whole thing happening in their rear-view-mirror, as they were rammed into. Thankfully, they were not hurt. The man who caused the accident was taken to the hospital by ambulance, conscious with minor injuries. Kudos to all the wonderful first responders, who were so kind and competent!!
Police officers stopped traffic so Aaron could walk onto the road to retrieve a baseball helmet and his sister's eyeglasses that had been ejected from the vehicle. His violin was in the trunk of the car. Though the case did an admirable job, it was dented and he's not sure the violin will ever sound the same.
Life, Death and Everything In Between
All that in between stuff, the unforeseen hits from behind and shattered glass—the friend that we never expected to leave this life so soon, the mother that suffered from an incurable disease for a decade before dying—can be a source of hopeless grief. But it doesn’t have to be.
The unanswerable mysteries, the brokenness and the loss, will all be revealed and put aright one day.
In the second to last chapter of the Bible, Revelation 21, Yeshua promises us that he will wipe every tear from our eyes. There will be no more death, crying or pain, “…the old order of things has passed away.”
Behold, I make all things new. Write this down, for these words are faithful and true. It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To the thirsty I will give freely from the spring of the water of life. The one who is victorious will inherit all things, and I will be his God, and he will be My son. But to the cowardly and unbelieving and abominable and murderers and sexually immoral and sorcerers and idolaters and all liars, their place will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur. This is the second death.
May we all be victorious and live together in the world to come experiencing this awesome reality of a second LIFE. It is not found in spirituality, religion or by being or doing “good”. EVERLASTING LIFE is found only one way. Don’t delay, none of us knows if today may be our last here in this world. L'chaim!