Thirty years ago this month was one of the sweetest Thanksgivings our family has known. Not that those before or since haven’t been good, mind you, but 1986 was a significant one. It was the year my brother hit a semi head on traveling home for the holiday weekend. They pulled him and his friend out of the car thanks to the Jaws of Life. He spent the ambulance ride singing hymns and telling the EMTs about Jesus. They probably thought him a bit delusional, but actually, he was speaking the unfiltered thoughts from the deepest part of who he was. In his shock, he was grateful to be alive and he wanted those around him to experience that too. So he sang and talked and made sure they knew the passion of his heart. He needed them to know. Because God is good.
He and his friend both eventually recovered, and Andy was lucky enough to walk out of the hospital a day or two later. We picked glass out of his hair for days and we sat around the Thanksgiving table amazed and just plain grateful to be together. We talked about the miracle of it all and wondered aloud what God had in store for him. We had no doubt that God had spared his life for something special. And he had. Because God is good.
You could say that Andy has been living on borrowed time for 30 years now, just like the 6 years of borrowed time we’ve enjoyed with my dad. Honestly, we’re all living on borrowed time. Oh, some may not look as dramatic as others, but none of us know the number of our days. When my mom got sick 7 years ago we prayed for more days. As it turns out we didn’t have near as many as we had hoped. But still, God is good.
So, here’s my question. And yes, I know it’s direct. And it’s personal. And it may even be offensive. But there’s just too much at stake not to ask. How have you chosen to live this handful of days you’ve been given? And the bigger question, what have you done with Jesus and His offer of salvation?
Years ago, as I was confronted with my own sin and inability to fix it, I chose to admit that sin to God and turn away from it. To believe that Jesus died for me. To confess Him as my Lord and Savior. Not because I’m so incredibly brilliant, but because I was so incredibly desperate. There’s not time and space enough to tell how poorly I’ve chosen to spend some of my borrowed time. But there is grace enough for forgiveness and new mercies every morning. Because God is good.
And y’all it has made all the difference. I have absolutely no idea how I would survive the storms of life without Him and my family and my church with which He has surrounded me. I can’t imagine working through the grief of losing my mom without the deep conviction that He is good. All the time. Even when circumstances are contrary to what I desire.
Last Sunday I shared Isaiah 41:10
“You are my servant,
I have chosen you and not cast you off”;
Fear not, for I am with you;
be not dismayed, for I am your God;
I will strengthen you, I will help you,
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
Little did I know how much I would need the truth of that verse come Thursday afternoon. That’s when we got a phone call that they had discovered a large tumor on my brother’s brain. They operated early the next morning, removing all but a small fraction of it. The prognosis is not what we would hope. But God is good.
He and his wife will be returning home from overseas to be near their girls and family and to go through lots of treatments. We’ve walked a similar journey with Dad. It’s not much fun. But God is good.
We don’t know how many days he’s been given. We don’t know how many days any of us have been given. And that’s precisely why it matters. Why it’s worth it to possibly offend. Why I must ask. What have you done with this Jesus?
There’s no promise of happily ever after. If that’s what you’re looking for, then you may well find yourself sorely disappointed. But, I can tell you with confidence that He will be with you in the midst of the not always so happily ever after. Even when it hurts so deeply you can’t take another step. Even when the answer is no after no after no. Even when hope feels so long gone that you can’t even see it. Like so many tough things, knowing you’re not alone can make all the difference in the world. And along the way you may discover a joy that far surpasses happiness. Because God is good.
If you have questions. If you want to know more. If you’re slightly curious, know that I would love to talk. No, I can’t answer every question. But we can look together. You can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org
And if it’s prayer that you need, then I would consider it the highest of honors to join you. There aren’t words to describe this knowing that others are praying on your behalf. But I can tell you how deeply my family has felt it in the past 48 hours. And in knowing that it will continue. Because that’s what it looks like when the church is being the church. Because God is good. All the time.