A baby is born, another person dies. Life is welcomed to the planet and life is suddenly removed from the planet. It happens hundreds of thousands of time a day on this somewhat round marble we call home.
Today I learned a young man took his life. I don’t really know why. I didn’t know him and I don’t really know much about his family. But he was known by a friend of mine and his sudden departure from life has affected people all around her, and if affected me. I know that feeling of wanting to die. I know that feeling that there is just no way that life can ever be anything other than worse than death itself. The attraction of the absence of pain, the absence of conflict is strong. The dark void and stillness of death seem more inviting than the reality of life in the sunshine. I thank God for the strength to hold on, to trust that as bad as things may seem, He was always there for me – even when I didn’t know it.
And then later today, a mentor of mine gave birth. A new life, a new addition to her family here in Texas. The juxtaposition of the day really struck me. People in total grief, feeling absolute loss and at the same time elsewhere people feeling total joy, welcoming a new member to their family.
Tears were shed today. Tears of loss and tears of joy. And I thought about it for a minute, when that young man was born years ago I’m sure there was nothing but tears of joy shed for him. He was a blessing to his family. No one, and I mean NO ONE that wonderful day was thinking his life might end this way. And likewise, no one today is thinking about this new baby will one day choose to end it all.
Jeremiah 29:11 God said this… “I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” These are God’s plans for us. But they are just plans. Are we willing to listen to these plans? Are we willing to submit to these plans – even when we’re not so sure about them or even flat out don’t want to do them? Proverbs 22:6 tells us to “train up a child in the way he should go”, that’s not just some goody two shoes saying, it’s true – and probably why I’m alive today. My parents, God bless them raised me to love our Lord and to learn more about Him, about His love and His mercy. Children left on their own will certainly go just any which way and listen to any voice that sounds appealing – like a chocolate bar to any child.
I don’t know how that young man was raised, some just rebel in spite of learning about God’s love, I don’t know that he did. And I trust this new baby will learn of God’s love and mercy and embrace it, but there are no guarantees. God gives us each a choice as to how we will address life. Jesus made it clear when he said the words “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”
This just drives home for me how important it is that we pray for each other – those who are important to us. James 5:16 says to “…confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed.” Confessing your sins to one another means these are fellow Christians, people close to you. And it’s the prayers of others for you that may heal you – likewise your prayers that may heal someone else. That young man has made all his choices and there is nothing more praying can do for him. But there is a young child for whom tomorrow will be a second (literally) birthDAY. We can pray for this child, but more importantly we can pray for each other. We have friends who make a day a great day, we should pray for them. We have friends we haven’t thought about in a while but are still our friends, we should pray for them. We have loved ones that we haven’t talked to in a while, we should pray for them. There are people we love for reasons we may have no knowledge of may want to end their life. So pray for as many people as you can – by name. Let someone you know that you care about them, that they have value in this world. That might be all it takes from letting a friend get from today to tomorrow.
We. Are. So. Blessed. I hope we can all take a moment and think about what we truly should be thankful for and who to pray for. We should be praying for our Pastors and spiritual mentors. Our families, our friends. Those in government who make decisions about our lives – and I mean not praying AGAINST them, but praying FOR them, for God’s wisdom. Life is fragile. That newborn could suddenly and tragically die tomorrow or next month. There is MUCH to pray for each and every day. Take a moment to acknowledge that God is in control, thank Him for His kindness that we can take another breath each and every morning. Pray and trust. Christ lived His life in prayer and trust in the Father, being a disciple means following that example and is what we should be striving to do.