Jody and Sarah Fox - this phase of our Journey as IMB missionaries in Niger, West Africa

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Each Day is a Gift from God

When we were on stateside we visited our home church (Parsons Baptist Church) in July.  I found out that one of the members, a dear friend, had recently been given about 6 months to live because of cancer.  When we visited her, she was in good spirits and I could tell she was resting in Christ.  She had the attitude of…well, the doctors have given me 6 months to live, but only God knows.  She knew that God had numbered her days…not the doctors.  God may take her the next day or God may take her in 20 years…either way she trusted in God and had no fear in death, only peace, because she was resting in the promises of God.

The next few months after visiting her, I thought of her and her situation often.  I imagined myself in her situation.  What if the doctors gave me 6 months to live…would I live life differently?  Would I make more out of each opportunity?  Would I treat my husband differently?  Would I spend more time just talking with my kids?  Would I pray more?  Share the gospel more boldly?  I honestly can’t decide whether knowing the day of my death would be a blessing or a curse.  But either way, our days on this earth are short. 

“As for man, his days are like grass;
he flourishes like a flower of the field;
for the wind passes over it, and it is gone,
and its place knows it no more.”
Psalm 103:15-16

During that time, I came across a key chain, which I felt compelled to buy.  It says, “Each day is a gift from God.”  I wanted that to be a reminder that every day that I spend on this earth is from God – He is the one who gives me breath and life each day.  He is in complete control.  The question is  - What will I do with each day He has given me?  Here are some ideas…

“Oh sing to the LORD a new song;
sing to the LORD, all the earth!
Sing to the LORD, bless his name;
tell of his salvation from day to day.
Declare his glory among the nations,
his marvelous works among all the peoples!”
Psalm 96:1-3

“Seek the LORD and his strength;
seek his presence continually!”
Psalm 105:4

From a worldly perspective, people may think…Life is short, so live it up.  Basically, live for yourself and do what makes you happy because your life is short and you should make the most out of it.  But the continuation of the first verses I quoted from Psalm 103, say “But the steadfast love of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear him, and his righteousness to children’s children, to those who keep his covenant and remember to do his commandments.” (v. 17-18)

So although this life is short, the steadfast love of the Lord is not.  The love of the Lord will continue for all eternity to those who fear him.  My friend who had cancer knows that.  That’s why she can have peace whether or not her earthly life would continue much longer.  She knows that Acts 16:31 says, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved.”  She knows that Jesus has gone before to prepare a place for her (John 14:3) and she knows that “According to his great mercy, he has caused [her] to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.” (I Peter 1:3)

And guess what?  Six months have come and gone…but my friend is still alive and in fact healthier than she was 6 months ago.  I was able to visit her again before we came back to Niger.  She can praise God for giving her more days on this earth and she can still rest in knowing that when her time to leave this earth comes, she will be continuing her life forever with Christ.

The reason I chose to write this blog today is because it is my Grandpa Pollock’s birthday.  He turns 101 today. Wow!!  That certainly is a long life.  God has blessed him with many days.  If each day is a gift from God, he certainly has received a lot of gifts!  But the gift far greater than 101 years on this earth is the gift of eternal life.  Romans 6:23 says, “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”  Compared to eternity, 101 years, is just a drop of water in an ocean.  Whether a person lives 10 years or 100 years, death is inevitable unless we have received the gift of eternal life.
Our family with Grandpa Pollock last July

Although his birthday was March 10th, we celebrated his 100th birthday last July during our family reunion.

So when I look at my keychain and read the inscription, "Each day is a gift from God,” I am reminded to be thankful for each day on earth and live it for God’s glory.  And I am also reminded that the gift of eternal life – days without number in God’s presence – is a gift I have received through faith in Jesus Christ.  That’s the hope that my friend has, my grandpa has, and I have.  And that’s the hope that you can have if you trust in Christ for salvation.  With a gift like that, how can we not

“Sing to the LORD, bless his name;
tell of his salvation from day to day.
Declare his glory among the nations,
his marvelous works among all the peoples.”

Psalm 96:2-3