The sudden passing of those dear to us has a way of causing us to pause and consider our own mortality and life’s brevity. Recently, I have lost two dear brothers in Christ, both of whom went to be with Jesus far sooner than any of us would have expected. Although there is great rejoicing in their lives and their present joy with our Savior, their loss is keenly felt.
I am approximately half-way through my life’s journey assuming I live out a “normal” lifespan. But realizing that there are no guarantees about tomorrow, I ask myself, “If I were to pass away next week or next year, what would I feel I had not accomplished with my life? What regrets would I have?”
Of course, we all have regrets over things we cannot change, mistakes made that cannot be unmade. I speak not of these, but of regrets for things that could have been done, but weren’t. The excuses sound hollow: “Oh, but things just kept crowding in. I never got around to it.” Life was too busy with unimportant things like TV shows, or sports games, or a myriad of other time-wasters that I fill my life with. And then one day, we wake up on the other side of eternity and we have regrets for what could have been.
I don’t want that to be me!
What small changes do I need to make—because it’s the little things that add up to the big ones?
I have always been inspired and challenged by the example of Frank Laubach. Those of you who have read the book Practicing His Presence will no doubt be familiar with his life and testimony. If you are not, I highly recommend the book. A short excerpt from his journal highlights his life’s goal:
So my problem is this: Can I bring God back in my mind-flow every few seconds so that God shall always be in my mind as an after image, shall always be one of the elements in every concept and precept? I choose to make the rest of my life an experiment in answering this question.
Laubach learned the secret of living each moment “in continuous inner conversation with God and perfect responsiveness to His will.” And the results were breath-taking. You need to read the full account to see the complete picture, but to give you a sampling:
Oh, this thing of keeping in constant touch with God, of making him the object of my thought and the companion of my conversations, is the most amazing thing I ever ran across. It is working. I cannot do it even half of a day–not yet, but I believe I shall be doing it some day for the entire day. It is a matter of acquiring a new habit of thought. Now I like God’s presence so much that when for a half hour or so he slips out of mind–as he does many times a day–I feel as though I had deserted him, and as though I had lost something very precious in my life.
The inner joy and spiritual growth that Laubach achieved through this arduous exercise is inspiring to read. And so my own feeling is this: this is what I want to pursue for the rest of the days that I have here on this earth. Like Laubach, I would like my life to be an experiment in attaining this goal. Oh, I have made feeble attempts at this here and there for the past ten years, but I feel now a pressing need to dedicate myself to the task.
Will you join me on this journey?
I keep my eyes always on the LORD. With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken. Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body also will rest secure, because you will not abandon me to the realm of the dead, nor will you let your faithful one see decay. You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand. –Psalm 16:8-11 (NIV)