Last Thursday, I was reminded of the true value of human life, and shocked at how quickly we take it for granted. Sometimes, it takes a dramatic event to help us appreciate the lives of those around us. And of course, you all are probably begging to hear all about this ‘dramatic event’, but it’s too soon. I’ll give a basic overview of it, I guess, but you won’t get any huge details. A friend of mine (whom I will not identify) has a heart problem, which sie1 briefly explained to me, but I didn’t really understand. All I got was that there’s a blood vessel behind hir2 heart that is somewhat problematic, as it periodically (around once a month or so) causes hir blood pressure to fall rapidly and sie faints. The danger is that there’s a chance of heart failure along with the loss of blood pressure, so when this cardio-something panic occurred and sie was taken to the hospital, I was scared.
It reminded me of a time back in December, during Finals Week, some buddies of mine and I convinced my “cousin”, Angela, to come with us to Moscow, Idaho, and buy some sleds. We told her we’d drop her off back at her dorm before actually sledding, but we had nothing of the sort in mind. After returning from Moscow, we took her with us to a hill on top of the REC parking lot. While performing the fearless feat of sledding chains, in which we would hold the sled of the person in front of us and slide down all together, Dani, my cousin, and I found ourselves hurtling towards across the parking lot towards a lamp post. We were going fast enough that Angela’s foot went over the curb wrong, and she broke her ankle. She ended up going to the hospital in an ambulance, and to this day has to wear a boot on her foot, although it should be coming off soon.
I like to say that I have no fear, and that nothing can ever frighten me. After all, I relish experiencing new (even potentially hazardous) activities/people and jump at the chance to try something I’ve never tried before. I am pretty bold and courageous when I want to be. But I have discovered my worst fear: the fear of my friends dying. There’s nothing quite like the agony of helplessness generated by the sight of my friends going somewhere I cannot follow…in this case, the sight of my friends disappearing into the back of an ambulance, knowing there is nothing that I can do to help.
Being thus frightened for my friend’s life, I was literally unable to fall asleep Thursday night. I tried working on schoolwork, but finally, at around 1:30 in the morning, I went to bed and left my phone on, underneath my pillow. I’d like to say that I spent the entire night like that, without sleeping a wink. In truth, I went to sleep literally ten minutes before my friend’s roommate sent me a text message letting me know that sie was back from the hospital and recovering. But while I was still awake, I was reminded of (can you guess?) another spiritual truth that God has been laying on my heart and mind in the past few weeks.
First, I was reminded that God loves my friend so much that in comparison, I hardly even care. And because He loves my friend so much, sie is in good hands. And here, ‘good’ is the understatement of the millennium. This made me feel a little bit foolish for doubting if God would come through and save my friend’s life. Though it’s hard to write this and even harder to believe it, I know that even if my friend had died that night, it would have been part of a much higher, much grander plan that God had for hir life. (But I’m exceedingly glad that that wasn’t God’s plan.)
Second, and more interestingly, I was reminded of a great analogy: God is like a good [cue the understatement again] father. He loves His children very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very much. So much so, that when we commit depraved actions, which deserve punishment and death, God chose to punish His one holy son. He poured out all that wrath and hatred for the awful things we humans do (and we do a lot of those awful things…just look at the news!) on His only son Jesus. *AND* here’s where I tie this back to the original subject. When evil circumstances occur, like heart problems, sledding accidents, diseases, and every other horrible thing, it’s kind of like something bad happening to a child. It’s sometimes the child’s fault, and the child is just reaping the consequences of a foolish action (for example, burning your hand on the stove because you touched a frying pan when it’s hot). Other times, it’s not the child’s fault, it just happens without warning or provocation, like with falling down on a bicycle.
But *NEVER*, within any of those circumstances I just listed, is it the father’s fault that something bad happened to the child. So why do we blame God our Father for bad things that happen? Even if it’s not our fault, it’s not God’s fault. If God were to keep every bad thing from happening, it would be like a father keeping his child perfectly safe by never letting anything happen to the child. Life for that child would be like living in a bubble. Even though nothing bad would happen, nothing good would happen, either.
In the book of James, the Word says that God is good and holy, and in Him there is no darkness. So when it says that God works all things together for good, it means ALL! Whatever happens to us, it is better than what didn't happen.
So the beauty of God’s plan for our lives is that He’s given us all this wonderful, horrible world to live in, to do with it as we choose. Whether we choose wisely or foolishly, however, God will always be there for us, ready to catch us if we fall off our bicycle or even if we get put in jail for stealing something or shooting someone. He’s still there for us, better than the best father. I encourage you readers to look for ways to appreciate the lives of those around you. Don’t forget that our lives are as a vapor, like the Bible says. We could be gone tomorrow. Don’t let a moment go by without thanking Him for the time He’s given you on this earth to enjoy the company and to be His ambassador.
1 – ‘sie’ is a gender-neutral pronoun meaning he or she.
2 – ‘hir’ is a gender-neutral possessive pronoun meaning his or her.
Gender Neutral Pronouns
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Author’s note: I spent like ten minutes looking for a good picture of the scene from Lord of the Rings’ “Return of the King”, when Sam finds Frodo comatose and wrapped in spider web, and he says, “Don’t go, Mr. Frodo…don’t go where I can’t follow!” But I couldn’t find any. It was absolutely ridonculous.