“This is the day that the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad in it”. Psalm 118:24
“For every minute you are angry, you lose 60 seconds of happiness” — unknown, seen on the desk of my friend Alan Bercovici
I frequently preach this, but it has never hit quite this close to home.
I suppose I first thought it in this way when 9/11 happened. Later any number of relatively faceless tragedies have occurred and I have had the same thought. When people ask me, “Why did God let this happen?”, I let them know that I don’t have a clue why these things happen. Actually, there’s almost always a reason — corrupt systems, people’s pain, mental health or physical health issues or just plain dumb bad luck.
That, however, is not the question people are asking when they ask about tragedy. They are asking about theodicy: “How does a God who’s in charge of the universe and loves us allow me to get hurt suddenly and apparently permanently?”. To that question, as a person of faith, I answer that it only appears to be permanent. What we see and know bears no resemblance to eternity with God. Having said that, I don’t have a clue why God allows people to die and why it hurts so bad to be left behind.
Still, I have maintained for years, as a matter of practical advice, that 9/11 and Aurora and Newtown have something to teach us. If you were a family member of someone who died in one of those tragedies and you had known then what you know now, what you have said to your loved one? How would you have acted toward them? Whatever that is, that is how you should treat them while they are still alive, because you never know what the day holds. THIS is the day you’ve got. As far as you and I know, it’s the only day you’ve got. If there are people that you love, like, think the world of, or treasure, this is the day you’ve got with them. You can waste it with busy-ness or with pettiness or bitterness or anger or you can use it to say what you need to say while you have the chance. This is the day that the Lord has made. Try to rejoice and be glad in it.
Today, my friend Lynda’s husband died — of a heart attack. Now, knowing Lynda as I do, I am sure that she treasured him every day, and was nice enough to tell him so. I am sure he treasured her as well. She will need your prayers because no one has a clue why these things happen. Regardless of why it happens, it does and it hurts like heck — after we get over the shock.
In the meantime, you and I have work — good work — to do while we can. Don’t let what happened to Lynda happen to you without your doing what you can.