Monday, June 18, 2018

The Last Sunset

And just as it is appointed for people to die once - and after this, judgment - so also Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him.
Hebrews 9:27-28

     We were fishing with friends and a strange thought drifted through my mind. That's not unusual. Many strange thoughts drift through the vast empty space between my ears, but this one continues to remind me it's there. "This could be the last sunset I ever see." 
     A few days after that sunset, the mother of a friend of mine died suddenly. I had coffee with her only a week or so before. The next day his mother-in-law died. They had both lived full lives in the faith, but those days were numbered. A couple of weeks ago a pastor friend of mine who had recently moved back into the area was struck and killed while jogging. I had seen him at a prayer breakfast just three days before. He was 46. In the last few years I've lost several good friends -  some young, some old. We had our last conversation, prayed together the last time, enjoyed a last supper.  
     Sometimes we get angry with God because someone dies. That's understandable, but unfair. He did promise, after all, that there is a final day appointed for each of us. None of us knows the day, but we know it's coming. Whether it's a sunset, a fishing trip, a cup of coffee, a breakfast, or a special time with family or friends, one of those will be the last one of those.
     Each of us will have a last dance, a last sunset. That's reality and so is what comes on the other side of our last sunset. If we believe in Jesus and follow him here, we'll enter eternity with him by our side. If, however, we haven't followed him here, then we'll will face the judgment with him as our opposition. 
     I'm glad for that sunset and the thought that continues to echo in my mind. It, along with God's Word, reminds me that he's never lied, even about death. He hasn't promised earthly immortality. How awful would it be to have to live forever in this world, forever dealing with its mess?  He's promised that one day all this will end and our joy will be full. That's only frightening if we don't know him. It's only unfulfilling if we think this world is superior to the one that's coming. 
     So, until that day, let's live as if we were already there. Let's patiently await his perfect timing, holding onto him while we make our way through this life. We're here for a purpose, whether we can figure it all out or not. We're here to glorify God, to make Him, His love, and His gospel known until He calls us home. So, let's dance while we can, but let's always remember that nothing here is as wonderful as everything there will be. And, above all, let's believe in Jesus, follow him, and give thanks that meeting him face-to-face will be the best part of life on the other side of the last sunset.