DVWhen Death is Up Close and PersonalTeach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom. —Ps 90:12(NIV)Please remember all those who were in one way or another affected by this tragedy in your prayers. Death is a part of the human experience. When it gets up close and personal, we are never the same again. It makes no difference whether we see it coming from a long illness or whether we see its horrors unfold on television. Our hearts break and bleed, and we weep, unwilling and unable to be comforted. Folks say that time heals all wounds. I don’t know that it quite works like that. Before death itself grips us in its cold fingers, our hearts will have bled and healed and bled again, more times than we can count.
Yet for the believer, none of this is for no good reason. If nothing else, every sorrow serves to strengthen our resolve to trust in the Creator a little more and ourselves a little less, and remember once again that we are but the created.
In the aftermath of the national tragedy that broke our hearts on September 11, 2001, many Americans turned to the Lord in prayer and in the song, “God Bless America.” Through the blur of tears and in spite of the questions, we found ourselves reaching out and holding onto the Rock of Ages so as not to be swept away by the torrents of grief and pain but to find a safe harbor in the comfort of His love. Though we still weep and mourn for the missing, for the dead and injured, for ourselves and our nation, we shall bend down to pick up the broken pieces of our hearts, patch them together and return to the business of living.
Nonetheless, those of us touched by death are never the same people we once were. Although every individual reaction is different, we now, each in our own way, live with the full knowledge that we are mere mortals and that each day is but a gift. Though we hope to live to be a hundred, the surviving spouse with minor children, for example, will go about doing practical things like hiring a lawyer to draw up a will and/or living trust and name legal guardians for the young ones. At the same time, death inspires in the believers among us to search our souls and contemplate the spiritual legacy that we would like to leave for our children. When we do, we will have gained a heart of wisdom.