About a month ago, I received a social media message from a great friend that I grew up with. We didn’t really consider each other friends, but brothers since we knew each other since the young ages of 4 or 5. We hadn’t spoken in years, but forged friendships like these rarely disappear with time. We took martial arts together as young teenagers, and upon learning new techniques we would always practice in our parents houses, the yard, etc. Inevitably we would want to practice a technique and the other would attack us incorrectly. This commentary would normally occur: “Grab my wrist. Not with that hand, with the other hand. Not like that, like this.” After setting up the technique perfectly one of us would be thrown. We knew it was completely ineffective in a real fight at our skill level, but found it hilarious as I still do. This was the message that my old friend sent to me after a few years of no contact. We caught up a bit, talked about our families, work and things of that nature. The conversation concluded with us talking about getting together with our families, but we are now unable to do that.
Monday, I saw a social media post of my old friend in a hospital bed with his eyes closed. His brother posted a caption “it’s hard to say goodbye.” I got a hold of his brother immediately and learned that my friend had suffered a major heart attack at the young age of 36. It would be inaccurate to say that I was taken by surprise. It was more than that. I drove to the hospital and learned that all that could be done was done. He was not responsive, and severe brain damage was done before the first responders were able to get to him. He remained unresponsive, and I was fortunate enough to be with him when he passed into the presence of The Lord Tuesday evening.
As I reflect on this week, I think on the brevity of life. My friend was 36 years old, yet exited this world into eternity. I think of King David’s words in Psalm 144:4: “Man is like a breath; his days are like a passing shadow.” I think we get to comfortable here in this world. The Bible teaches that we are transient regarding this earth. We are here today, and we will be gone tomorrow. How much do we factor this into our decisions? It is good to prepare for retirement, and other goals, but do we focus on tomorrow more than today? Do we focus on the people we want in our life more than the people who are in our lives? Do we focus less on God and more on this world?
I have been reminded of the brevity of life by the seeming untimely passing of my friend and brother. I hope that his death reminds you as well of the need for priorities in our lives, and in some cases a reorganization of them. Let us love our God and serve Him in the capacity He has called us because this is why we exist. Let us love our families as they are a gift from Him, and each moment is precious. Let us love our brothers and sisters as beings created by Him and in His image. Finally, let us place these three priorities where they belong at the top of our lists.
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Psalm 144:4 – “Man is like a breath; his days are like a passing shadow.”