Life can change in One Day!!!
We as humans live our lives in twenty four hour segments whether we like it or not. We can plan, dream, and even live for tomorrow but all we really have is the moment, the day we are in. Life for our family has been jolted by that reality twice this year. I know yours probably has as well. Life is hard! Is anyone else ready to go home, our eternal home in heaven? I wake every morning wondering what might be next. I know our pain is no different than everyone else’s and others have it harder than us but I feel compelled to write what God has been showing me through this journey of loss.
My Father and my Father-in-law were both diagnosed with terminal diseases over a year ago. On September 23rd we received the call that my Father-in-law had passed away in the hospital. Then on November 28th at 7:30 am I received the call that my Father was in the hospital and that he had been placed on a ventilator. On December 2nd he passed away. One week to the day that I received the call that he was in the hospital I found myself at his funeral. One day can change your life. The culmination of all the “one days” over the course of a lifetime becomes the story of your life. The power in those one day moments can alter our lives forever. The outcome of how they alter us is up to our choices and responses to the events.
We are in the season of our Savior's birth and my mind moved to thoughts of Mary and Joseph. Mary was a young Jewish girl who had just become betrothed to Joseph. Their laws and customs required that the betrothed couple live a year preparing for the marriage and purifying themselves. One Day the Angel of the Lord visited Mary and told her of God’s plan and her life was forever changed. Her response was one of trust and belief in her God but the reality of this plan affected her, Joseph and her family. Everyday she must have wondered if she could do what He asked, could she live with the responses of her community. She had plans and dreams for her life and then one day changed it all. I had plans; plans for Christmas with my dad and then one day changed that forever. We all have plans and dreams but do we trust and believe God when His plan turns our world upside down or do we become offended and turn away from Him. Do I have the courage to say as Mary did “I am the Lord’s servant, may it be to me as you have said” (Luke 1:38).
Mary’s response to her one day opened the door for all of humanity to have the opportunity to experience the three most important "one day" events in all history.
The first one day was the one we are all about to celebrate, which is Christ’s Birthday, Christmas. He was called Emmanuel, which means God with us. Our creator God left it all to be with us; to be with us in every one of our one day moments. So no matter what one day moments you have had over the past year, God has been with you. You may not have recognized that He was there or you may be angry and offended with Him because of the event but He will not leave you. His purpose was to come to be with you, walk with you through that one day and all the days after it. My responses to my father’s passing have flowed from heartbreak to feeling abandoned again. My parents divorced when I was six and this little girl sure needed her daddy. Feelings of abandonment and loss have seemed to define my life choices. We had experienced restoration over the years and loved each other but the childhood years can not be restored and so who I am is defined or at least outlined by that lost relationship. God has been there and I see a little more everyday how He has been there throughout my life. Truly Emmanuel has been a part of my life. Emmanuel has come to be with all of us, do not reject Him for He alone can heal and restore. Emmanuel is a name that reminds me that I am not abandoned or even fatherless for He is Abba, our father as well. Joseph experienced his one day when the Angel of the Lord appeared to him and he decided to marry Mary and be a father to Jesus. He chose to overcome the offense of her pregnancy and the fear of what others thought. He is an encouragement to men to stand firm and be the best father you can be through Christ. His one day made him the man who would raise the Savior of the world.
The second one day would be the day of the crucifixion. Emmanuel came to be with us but He also was called Jesus which means He will save his people from their sins. I can not imagine being Mary as she witnessed her child being beaten, tried and hung on a cross. In Luke 2:19 we are told that Mary treasured all the things that were happening in her life and pondering them in her heart. I believe that as that cruel one day played out she remembered every event, every precious memory of their life together. I believe that was one thing that got her through that moment. I know that memories are already playing a part in my grieving but I wish that I had done a better job just spending time with my dad. We get so tied up in this world when relationships should be our focus. The name Echad is a name for God that means “oneness in plurality”. God has always been in relationship and He enjoys it so much that is why He created us. He places us in families, communities, churches and relationships so that we can enjoy fellowship as well. The glory of our relationships is God in us flowing out to others. Scripture tells us that the world will know God exists by our love for each other. So maybe this year would be a good time to simplify the holidays. Decorate, cook and give just what is truly from the heart that will involve all of your senses and give texture to your memories. Focus on the people in your life because in one day they can be gone. They can be gone for many reasons such as a move, a job, a quarrel, a marriage or unfortunately even death. Christ died so that we could live eternally with Him. Who is in your life that needs to know the Savior? Make it a goal this year to build that relationship, make some memories and pray for their salvation. Take some time over the holidays to ponder and treasure the memories of this past year. I want to spend more time with the people He has entrusted to me so there are no regrets.
The third one day would be the Resurrection Day. Mary would have lived a lifetime of pain and grieving in that day. She saw the miracle child that she bore beaten, tried and crucified. Even though He told them that He would rise on the third day I believe they doubted. She was a simple Jewish girl that was chosen by God to fulfill His plan to save His people. Her one day changed the course of her life and the course of history. The task of raising the Son of God had to be overwhelming but her trust, love and belief in God gave her strength everyday to move forward. Our Redeemer lives! He rose from the dead to give us hope, salvation and eternity. He alone knows every one day that we will each encounter in our lifetimes. Through the blessing of Christmas we as believers have everything we need to get through each one victoriously. He is Emmanuel our God who has come to be with us and in us. He is our Savior who not only saves us from our sins but from our selves. He is our redeemer! Christ alone can redeem not only our one day but all of our days. When we have made bad choices or have regrets He can redeem and restore them. To redeem something means to purchase it back and to restore it to its original design. What needs to be restored in your life? Even though my dad has gone home to be with the Lord I am blessed with memories of restoration and look forward to how God will continue to restore in ways only He can.
So each day in 2009 I along with you will have choices to make each day. I can choose to believe He loves me and that I can trust Him. I can choose to have the heart and attitude of Mary when those one day events happen. I can choose to remember those three crucial one day events in the life of Christ which showed His love for me and you. I can choose to see what God is trying to teach me through the one day things that come in my life or become offended. Unfortunately when we become offended we do not learn or even escape the pain we just continue to live in the event. God never intended for us to live in the one day but to search for Him in it so that we could grow through it. There is resurrection and life on the other side, outside of His tomb. Don’t put it off, let God move and spend the next year watching for all the one day events with Mary’s attitude. No matter what your one day has been this past year or even your lifetime find hope in Emmanuel, Jesus, and Our Redeemer! When life begins to push you to be busy remember where the first Christmas took place. Mary had just given birth in a stinky stable not a HGTV decorator home. Christ was placed in a feeding trough not a Pottery Barn nursery. They ate meager scraps not Food Network menus. The first guests arrived soon after the birth and they were dirty stinky shepherds not fancy dressed guest. These things are not bad goals but too often they become the focus which leads to stress and not precious memories. Simplify your life by making relationships and memories your goal. Truly love the ones God has entrusted you with, serve them and spend time with them because you never know when they will exit your life.
The Word became flesh, and made His dwelling among us. We have seen His glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.