Born and raised in the shadow of the Nashville skyline, I grew up in a life of comfort. With a nice car, a nice house, and a nice family, I was never in need of anything. Even within a fifteen mile radius of my house, it would’ve been possible to eat at a different restaurant for both lunch and dinner every single day for a month or two. On my way to school every morning, I drove past many big houses, including the one below.
Now though, I’ll ask you a question. What life would be like if we lost our possessions, our loved ones, and even our health?
You probably have your own past experiences with those types of loss, but I’ll share mine, too. My life has changed dramatically since experiencing the loss of a loved one. The reason why I told you about the town where I grew up, though, is this: I never felt the need to fully rely on God for my survival. All of my troubles seemed solvable by wearing the right clothes, building the perfect resume, fitting in with the right crowd of people, and maintaining the appearance that everything was okay. In the past few years, I have learned just how wrong I was in relying on those to, hopefully, fix some of my problems.
But in the past two months, I experienced an even greater loss; my whole family did. I lost the lovely lady that I always knew I could talk with and just be myself. She was “my safe place.” She would actually encourage me to eat more, not less! (Go figure, since she was my grandmother! ) But she loved me so much, not for who I could be or would be, but for just the way that I was. I was always most at home when sitting by her or cooking with her in the kitchen. Never did she pressure me about having an exact plan for the future; she always seemed so much more concerned with where I was in that moment that I was with her. This Christmas already isn’t the same without my beloved Mammaw here with us…
Life on earth is fragile at best. Economic hardship can rob us of our wealth. The aging process will mar the physical appearance of our younger days. The thief named Death will steal from us our loved ones. Dreaded dementia or a brain injury would rob us of our educated minds, and illness could strike us and take away our health.
I don’t know about you, but there’s one realization that I have in lieu of all of this… No man–even a devout follower of Christ–is exempt from the state of this fallen world. Stripped away from the earthly things that bring us comfort: only in this state can we see that, truly, we still exist by the mercy and grace of God alone. Only when all else fades, do we see the light of Christ…
And this is the first step towards grasping the joy of salvation.