By Grace Custer
I have no assurance of tomorrow. God’s Word says, in Proverbs 27:1, “thou knowest not what a day may bring forth.” Any day within this coming year could be my last day on earth, thus signaling the end of my mortal life. Certainly, this could be the year when our Lord and Saviour splits the eastern sky and carries all the saints away, or it may be the year when Jesus calls me home to heaven. Only God knows.
Recently, I have been giving serious thought to this possibility. No, I do not have a death wish, and yes, I am very blessed and thankful for my life! God has answered my deepest needs, and fulfilled my greatest desires! However, none of these blessings guarantee me another day…or another year! “My times are in thy hand,” Psalm 31:15 says. What if 2018 really were my last year on this earth, and what if I could actually know that in advance? How would I live out my remaining days? What would I do differently? What would I change? I believe the answer to these questions reveals the true priorities and condition of my heart. While I do not pretend to have all the answers to this thought-provoking question, I do feel impressed to share some things God has stirred up and brought to the forefront of my mind. Perhaps you will ponder them, as well.
If I really knew this were my last year to live on this earth, I believe I would live my life more intentionally. Every decision, every choice, would (perhaps even instantly) carry greater meaning. I would be more willing to look at the consequences of my daily choices. I’d be less careless about how I spend my time, investing myself in things that really matter. My God-given roles, whether it be as a Christian witness, a friend, a wife, a mother, or a grandmother, would take on greater meaning. I would also seek more humility, and be more willing to squelch my fleshly tendencies toward independence and an unteachable spirit. I’d seek this “fast-track,” to enable me to be more of a giver and blessing to others.
If I knew 2018 would be the last year of my life, I would not be satisfied for it to just be a repeat of previous years. I would want more! The status-quo is boring and lifeless! At the end of my days, I would hope to challenge myself to keep striving to learn more about the Lord and be used of Him to a greater degree! Why would I just give up? My dad always says, “When I die, I want to go out with my flag up!” I feel the exact same way! No matter what my age, I want to live every moment I’m given! Growth involves change. Even though change involves the discomfort of facing myself and all my flaws, at least as God’s child, there is hope and an answer for my problems! God’s power is always available! I’d rather face the pain and uncertainty of change, than to resist it and stagnate.
Knowing I only had a year to live would definitely bring life into clearer focus. I would be less inclined to let offenses trip me up. Holding onto grudges and personal preferences would suddenly seem as foolish and insignificant as they really are! I would strive to be less critical, expecting others to see things the way I do, and judging them if they don’t! God’s Word would become dearer, resulting in me becoming more filled with God’s love and Spirit, and more compassionate and less self-righteousness toward others.
Facing the end of my earthly days should definitely compel me to take care of any “unfinished business” in my personal or spiritual life. Hebrews 12:1 instructs us to “ lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us.” In eternity’s light, the thought of fashioning one’s mortal life around a painful, unfair, or even abusive circumstance, is, quite frankly, ludicrous! Sadly, we all know people who have done this very thing and have carried their “bitter baggage” with them to the grave! This is Satan’s plan; NOT God’s way! God’s Goodness and love offer forgiveness, hope, and true peace! However, for these good gifts to be acquired, a teachable spirit and true humility are essential.
It has been said that most people never live up to their true, God-given potential! They quit learning, striving, and growing, long before they draw their last breath! How sad this is! Stagnation is actually in violation to God’s Plan and purpose for our lives. As God’s children, we have a built-in Regulator. The indwelling Holy Spirit will prod us on to higher ground, but reaching that level is determined solely by our own will.
Living life more intentionally would prompt me to ask these questions: Have I identified what is holding me back from reaching my full potential for the Lord? Am I willing to face my weaknesses, or do I pacify myself with denial and blame? Is fear my most familiar companion, or do I walk by faith? Is there an area of my life I have been refusing to surrender to the Lord? Am I a good example to my family? Would I be happy if my children were just like me when they reach my age? No? Why not? Am I a good testimony to the lost? Is Christ truly my focus? Do I live a balanced and fruitful life?
We are all facing the dawn of 2018. It could be my last year, or, then again, it just might be yours. Whether yours or mine, it is time to take stock and ask ourselves this probing question: What kind of legacy will I leave behind?