Saturday, June 25, 2011

the brevity of life

More and more during this past few weeks, I've been reminded at just how quickly life can come to an end. Even in just driving downtown every day for my job, I've seen countless accidents and even more acts of stupidity by careless drivers that very easily could have resulted in fatalities. It hits me hard every time as I think about how that isn't just a statistic of a highway accident, but a person, a beloved child or cousin or friend, somebody that won't live to see another day because they've left their earthly body. That's not a concept that sits well with me.

In my quiet times, I've been reading Crazy Love by Francis Chan, and the second chapter focused on this very same topic.

"On the average day, we live caught up in ourselves. On the average day, we don't consider God very much. On the average day, we forget that our life truly is a vapor." -page 39

I'm not trying to be morbid about all of this, I'm really not. I think, though, that realizing how quickly life can end makes you realize how much more life needs to be lived intentionally and meaningfully.

"The point of your life is to point to Him." -page 44

If I could leave this earth at any second, I want to make sure I'm using my time for the glory of God and not for my own pleasure. I want to be so on fire for Him so that when I'm gone, they'll remember that above anything else. I want to be serving, worshipping, praising, glorifying, and loving Him and His people with my time and my talents while I'm alive on this Earth. I don't want to spend my days concerned with myself, stressing over little things, worrying about tomorrow, and hiding my true Christ-given identity.

It breaks my heart that so many people don't realize the importance of life and of the One who gives it until death happens. It shouldn't have to take tragedies for us to realize that life is precious and our time here isn't endless, but a lot of times, that is what it takes. For me, it's just an insane call to action to know that my life truly is a vapor. I know that God has plans for me, plans to prosper me, not to harm me; plans to give me a hope and a future. I want to live my life, how ever long or short it may be, following His will for my life, making every day a humble reflection of the glory and love of the Giver of life.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

the fear of familiarity.

I'm one of those people that recognizes faces and remembers names. Blame it on all my years of being on the yearbook and newspaper staff, I guess, but it's just one of those things about me.

Even if I've only met you once, or even just heard about you through the grapevine, guaranteed I'll still know who you are. I admit, sometimes it freaks people out a little when I can place how or why I know them when most of the time, they don't have any idea who I am. This has happened more and more lately as I've been reconnecting with people in Richmond and also meeting new people through Hope and such, and it has made me start to think a bit.

I know I'm just a human, and there are tons of people that I wouldn't recognize or know a single thing about. My realm of knowledge is only so expansive before it is limited by places I've been and people I've been around.

But then, I started thinking about God, and how He knows us. He knows names and faces of people that know Him in return (like how I know the names and faces of people I've met). But, unlike me, He knows (and more than that, He LOVES) every single name and face of every person that has ever lived or is currently living or will ever live. That blows my mind.

When you really start to think about it, it's a little unnerving. It's a little weird on a much smaller scale when somebody you've never met can pinpoint who you are just from mutual friends or mutual situations, but that usually only goes so far as, "Oh! Do you do YoungLife at JMU? My friend so-and-so did YoungLife, I think I've seen pictures of you with her!" Just the fact that you paid enough attention to remember that face and be later able to put a name to it is an impressive and rare quality. Think about how much more intimate it is to meet God and have Him know every single thing about you, every thought that's ever crossed your mind, every beat of your heart, every ounce of who you are and who you'll be. Kinda intimidating, wouldn't you agree?

Once I get over the initial awkwardness of coming to God and Him totally knowing me inside and out, nothing excluded, I start to realize just how incredible it is that He'd even WANT to know me like that. I'm just a college kid that's trying to figure life out while making a bazillion mistakes along the way, why would the Creator of this entire universe care to know me so deeply and personally? Not only does He know my name and my face, but He created me exactly this way on purpose.

"Oh yes, you shaped me first inside, then out;
you formed me in my mother's womb.
I thank you, High God- you're breathtaking!
Body and soul, I am marvelously made!
I worship in adoration- what a creation!
You know me inside and out,
you know every bone in my body;
You know exactly how I was made, bit by bit,
how I was sculpted from nothing into something."
-Psalm 139:13-15, The Message

So, the next time you're introduced to someone and the connection is made that you somehow know each other somehow, don't get freaked out. It's not that weird that some people just remember little details and might remember you. Plus, it's kinda nice to know that somebody cared enough to not just disregard you; you made some small lasting impact on them and you matter enough for them to create a connection with you.

Use that as a small reminder of how there is a God that knows you more intimately, beautifully, and personally than that person ever could, and He wants nothing more than for you to seek to know Him in the same way.