4I have brought you glory on earth by completing the work you gave me to do. John 17:4 (NIV)
Something very unexpected and unsettling happened last night. It was about 10:00 pm, and I had just gone to bed. The phone rang. I knew it was either a wrong number or something was wrong. When I looked at caller id and saw that it was my sister-in-law’s cell phone number, I knew it was the latter. I answered the phone with my heart pounding waiting to hear what she had to say.
She told me there was a “low-grade emergency,” and she and my brother needed my help. I asked what was wrong, and she told me that my brother had gone outside to reset their hot water heater because the hot water wasn’t working. He removed the panel to get to the reset button thus exposing electrical wires. He accidentally touched the wires and was shocked. Two hundred and twenty volts of electricity. Thankfully, he was not knocked out and was able to go inside and tell her what had happened. However, he was light-headed, felt “spacey,” was feeling pressure behind his eyes and was having trouble focusing his vision. They called their doctor who said while my brother was probably okay, the doctor would prefer they go to an urgent care center. They did and were told they should go to the hospital.
My brother and sister-in-law have a four month old baby, my darling first nephew, who they were dragging out at 9:00 last night to do all of this. They called me to come and stay with the baby while they were at the hospital. I, of course, threw on my clothes, grabbed my pillow, my slippers, and a book and headed out the door as quickly as I could.
We live about 35-40 minutes apart, so it was going to take me a bit of time to get there as it was. Then, I got caught in construction traffic on the way! I was trying not to lose it, but I found myself feeling overcome with the emotion of it all. I knew that my brother was most likely okay, but I nonetheless called my best friend and asked her to pray and then spent the remainder of the trip over praying myself.
Fortunately, my brother is fine. Thank you, God! But…this could just as easily have gone the other way. I have been wrestling this afternoon and evening with the emotions all of this has evoked. We are not promised tomorrow. As a matter of fact, I am not even promised that I will have the opportunity to finish typing this post.
All of this has really gotten me to thinking. I have been posting recently about the book One Month to Live and the struggles I have been having with moving forward in faith towards the purpose for which God has called me. I have realized that part of my problem with the 30-day One Month to Live challenge is the idea of only having one month to live and what I would do differently. This concept just has not been real for me. I haven’t been told that I only have one month to live. But after what happened to my brother last night, I am rethinking this concept.
Jesus spoke the words in the verse at the top of this post. He did not begin His ministry until He was 30 years old, and in three years’ time, He was able to say to His Father in heaven that He had completed the work God had given Him to do.
I realized today that if I saw God face to face tonight, or tomorrow, or even next week, that I would not be able to say that. I have known that I wasn’t moving forward in all that He has called me to do. I have been afraid. Now I’m afraid not to. Not because I’m afraid God will punish me, but because I know He has a purpose for me. That purpose is why I am here. It’s what I was made for.
And after the events of the last 24 hours, the concept of how would I live my life differently if I only had one month to live is not so foreign to me. It’s actually quite real and in my face now. No, I haven’t been told I only have one month to live. But then, I haven’t been told I have more than that either. Suddenly, the fear I have been feeling seems very minor and irrelevant now. Suddenly, I feel a sense of urgency about moving forward in God’s plan. My success or failure does not depend on me. It depends totally on Him. And with God behind me, hopefully, when I do see Him face to face…whenever that may be…I will be able to say that I completed the work He gave me to do.