Wednesday, September 8, 2021

The Instant

On the way to church this past Sunday, Renée and I encountered yellow police tape stretched across Maple Avenue. Rarely is police tape a good sign. We prayed for whatever situation was happening and took a detour. Sadly, we later discovered that someone riding one of those Lime electric scooters now available throughout the city was hit by a car and killed. This past Thursday, a veteran Connecticut state trooper Sgt. Brian Mohl, who had 26 years of service in the department, was working a midnight shift in Woodbury was killed when his cruiser was swept away amid heavy flooding from the remnants of Hurricane Ida.

A man riding a scooter. A husband and father of three gone in an instant. Events like this remind us of the fragility of life, as we were on September 11, 2001. It is hard to believe, but we are coming upon twenty years this Saturday. I will never forget sitting, in my office in Maine, just stunned, staring at the television as that event unfolded before my eyes. Two thousand nine hundred and seventy-seven innocent people died that morning – in an instant.

Yes, it changed our lives. We still have to take off our shoes at the airport. We cannot park close to certain buildings. There are watchlists and air marshals. All of that is true. However, what hit me this week was more the reality of “the instant.” The idea that one moment everything appears okay, and the next, it can change forever. None of us know how long we have. Twenty years? Sixty? Ninety? Everything could change in an instant. An illness, accident, natural disaster, terrorist attack. The Bible says, “How do you know what your life will be like tomorrow? Your life is like the morning fog – it’s here a little while, then it’s gone” (James 4:14). Remember the childhood nighttime prayer? “Now I lay me down to sleep. I pray the Lord my soul to keep. If I should die before I wake. I pray the Lord my soul to take. Amen.” Most of us use the updated modern version instead, “Now I lay me down to sleep. I pray the Lord my soul to keep. Guide me safely through the night and wake me with the morning light. Amen.” It’s a little softer, lighter, right? However, tomorrow morning is not guaranteed. 

Now, I mention this not to instill any fear. The Bible is clear, “For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline” (2 Timothy 1:7). I do not want you walking around today, or any other day, expecting Wile E. Coyote’s ACME anvil to drop out of the sky and onto your head. No, I mention this for the opposite reason. Not knowing, should motivate us to treasure every moment. Bill Keane, illustrator of the Family Circus cartoon, once said, “Yesterday’s the past. Tomorrow’s the future, but today is a gift. That’s why it’s called the present.” I do not know what tomorrow brings. None of us do. I do know the Bible also says, “Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning” (Lamentations 3:23). 

I know that every single day we have another opportunity to live, laugh, and love. Don’t take them for granted. I encourage you to treasure each and every day. Cherish time with family, friends, co-workers, and brothers and sisters-in-Christ. Tell those you love that you love them. “Don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry” (Ephesians 4:26). Make up with your husband or wife. Life is a blessing. So be blessed and be a blessing to someone else today.     

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Remember to email your praises and petitions to southchurchprayer@gmail.com. We lift them up every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, at 4:00 pm on Facebook Live.

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