Friday, April 26, 2013
the time is now
This past weekend, our oldest cat, Chloe, had to be euthanized due to ongoing kidney and liver issues. Chloe was the "talker" in our motley crew of pets. Now that she is gone, my family is realizing how silent our home has become as it lacks the sweet meows that once echoed the hallways of our humble abode. (Teary eyes abound... Miss you, Chloe.)
Anyway, on Saturday we were faced with the hard decision to put Chloe down. Because her little body was jaundice, her kidneys no longer working, and her immune system pretty much non-existent, we knew the time had come to let her go before her pain and condition worsened. As I held her lethargic body in my arms, our vet (Megan) administered a sedative to put our cat completely to sleep. Then, I laid Chloe's limp body on the examination table and pet her soft head as Megan sadly gave her the second shot to overdose her system and ultimately stop her heart. And that was it. My little kitty was no longer alive or a part of this harsh, corrupted world. All that remained was a small shell - a sickly body. Chloe was no longer with us. No, she was gone.
As my whole family struggled with this reality, I began thinking about how much death sucks! (Sorry, but there is no better way to say it... death does suck!) I've learned that it isn't so much the dying part that is hardest for me to absorb, but rather the forced goodbye that I must endure as someone I love is no longer in my same realm of existence. I hate that goodbye. I hate that feeling of loss and the physical separation from someone I care deeply for.
In my life, I have been forced to say many goodbyes to several dear people (and pets). I am quite familiar with the feelings that accompany someone dying - the isolation, the remoteness, the solitude that lingers as I am left behind to live out the rest of my days on earth without the presence of someone I hold close. Also, I personally know the lasting hope and/or the bitter misery that can accompany a person's passing. For the outcome of death is always dependent upon our choice to receive or deny Jesus as Savior. Either Jesus is our God or someone/something else is selfishly substituted in His place. Yes, every conclusion of human life will summarize WHO a person chose to make first while alive on this planet. Jesus or Self? Success or failure? Sadness or rejoicing? In seeing both decisions made by people I care for, I've experienced my share of celebration and sorrow when saying goodbye to loved ones who have passed. I've understood that some of death's forced goodbyes are only temporary... and some, sadly, are not. (The "not's" are when death sucks the most. The "not's" are when I lean on the sovereignty of my Maker and trust that His ways are higher than my own.)
All that said, Chloe's passing caused me to think about something more than death. My little kitty's exit from this earth caused me to consider the concept of "time" itself. For in one moment Chloe was alive... and in the next moment she was gone. The only thing separating her life from her death was indeed time. The quiet tic-tock of the clock was the distinguishing factor that determined her existence vs. her nonexistence.
The experience of Chloe's death caused me to think deeply about my own existence, about my God, and about the time that has been ordained especially for me. You see, God created all time when He created the world. He made it so that mankind could take note of seasons, days and years. As a result, in the world's timeline, our Heavenly Father has prescribed a certain amount of time for each person to individually live out their days.... a lifetime, if you will. He has destined for us to be alive at this very point in earth's history. Because of this we can surmise that we are here... now... for a very specific and individually planned reason to glorify His Name... TODAY!
And God said, "Let there be lights in the expanse of the sky to separate the day from the night, and let them serve as signs to mark seasons and days and years, and let them be lights in the expanse of the sky to give light on the earth." And it was so. (Genesis 1:14-16)
"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you," declares the LORD, "and will bring you back from captivity." (Jeremiah 29:11-14)
God is not limited by time, but rather in control of it. I am alive today, because He planned it. I am here writing this blog to you on His schedule. I have and will experience trials and joys over the course of my lifetime all because God has approved what will occur and when it will occur in my life.
Yes, I am the recipient of His grace to LIVE. And in this life, I am called to live wisely and for His glory. Sure, I could choose to disobey His purpose. I could separate myself from Him with sin. I could choose to reject and deny Him as a holy, perfect God. But that doesn't mean He isn't God. No, my choice will not change the fact that He knows what will occur and will use it to be glorified and honored. My choice will not change His ultimate headship or plan. For every moment belongs to Him, and He will use my obedience (or disobedience) to serve His kingdom. All His creation will follow His supreme rule. That just makes sense, doesn't it? For what kind of King would set up a kingdom He couldn't ultimately rule? What kind of Potter does not mold His clay into His planned vision? So, whether mankind accepts their Maker or not... God will still be God, folks! And we don't function properly without Him!
So, every second we are granted life ultimately belongs to the Creator of all time and space and will be used for His holy purpose. Fortunately, He is a good and just King and will wisely advance His kingdom while blessing those who love and follow His ways. Ultimately, there will be no life without God. We cannot exist without His presence. When I consider all this, I always think, "How great is our Almighty Father in Heaven!? WOW! I cannot fathom His omnipotence and omniscience! WOW WOW WOW!!!" For despite our decision to love or hate the One who must be praised... His love for us is unmeasurable! In fact, He loves us more than Himself... for He sent His only Son to secure us a place in His home... we are offered everlasting life in His presence! He lovingly gives Himself (for He is the gift of LIFE) to every person on earth, and will continue to do so until the end of days. All God desires is to be close and intimate with mankind. All God longs for is our complete devotion and affection! All God wants is for us to enjoy the very best He could possibly offer - Himself! He knows that there is nothing better for us than His goodness and blessing. Yes, all God planned for our lifetime... for our eternity... is His true love! All God has given is ALL God, ladies... ALL GOD!
O LORD, you have searched me and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways. Before a word is on my tongue you know it completely, O LORD. You hem me in - behind and before; you have laid your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain. Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast. If I say, "Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me," even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you. For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. (Psalm 139:1-16)
This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. (1 John 4:9)
Once we realize God's goodness and look at "time" in terms of being completely connected and completely devoted to Him, the limitations of earthly moments become cloudy and irrelevant... only HE becomes clear and worthwhile. Only HE proves important. I've learned that when I focus on His presence and the authority He holds, the past and future do not seem to be such a concern. The details are more for Him to work out. For He is my refuge and strength. He is an ever-present help in times of trouble. And no past mistake or experience can separate me from His love. No deliberation or worry over my own comfort, plans, or any future worldly event or earthly outcome could overshadow the glory He has in store for those who love and seek after Him. No, when I surrender my life to the loving presence of my Master, He is all that matters. Death does not hold it's sting. Sin cannot enslave me in defeat. For all my life... all my time... all my eternity is safe in His capable hands. No hour will pass if He has not sanctioned it. No moment is without His rule.
Whatever HAS happened and whatever WILL happen are not as important as WHO we place our trust in... WHO is in control... WHO is the same yesterday, today and forever! No, what is most important is the NOW of Jesus. He is all that we need. He is WHO we must rest our faith upon. He is WHO we must follow... no matter what. All seasons belong to Him. All time is His. So, the time is NOW to seek His presence. The time is NOW to know your God!
Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge. Selah. (Psalm 62:8)
The death of Chloe made me wonder what echos my own life will produce in the halls of God's kingdom. It made me consider the "now" of my time on this planet, and the urgency of God's presence in my day. I am certain that this is definitely the reason God gave me Psalm 118:24 as DW's main verse. For today is without question the day that He has made. This is indeed the time that I should live rejoicing and glad. Why? Because my God has loved me enough to grant me freedom from sin and eternity in His great presence! This is the day to honor His headship as King and praise Him for His sovereign rule, His holy and righteous glory, His perfect purpose and infinite love. Friends, the time is NOW to live praising, seeking, worshipping Jesus. This is the day!
Will you join me and live to please the King of kings with complete devotion? Will you bask in His presence? Will you fixate your eyes on the joy of knowing how great and far and wide and deep His love really is? For your life is really nothing without His LIFE. Your time is really useless without His presence. We must always remind ourselves that our time on earth is not about what we want or get or experience. No, the blessing now and forevermore is in WHO we serve. The joy is in WHO has saved us. The glory is in WHO we place all our trust. HE IS WORTHY... and we are His! WOO HOO!
Seek Him. Hunger for Him. Do anything and everything you can to BE WITH HIM NOW! Your very life depends upon your King NOW! The time to rejoice and know Jesus with all your heart, soul and mind is NOW! Live it! Claim it! TODAY IS THE DAY! THE TIME IS NOW!
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