Thursday, September 8, 2011

Numbering Our Days (In memory of Jacob Bratkon)

My day started out fairly uneventful. It was Thursday so that meant the typical routine of morning exercise, shower, breakfast and laundry duty. I went to check my e-mail and received disturbing news. On Wednesday, September 7, a dear sister in Christ lost her 17 year old son in a tragic car accident. I was in shock as I could not even begin to imagine the devastation the family and friends of this young man were experiencing. A heaviness settled into my soul and hung on for most of the day. I had to go out to the grocery store in the afternoon and had a hard time motivating myself to get there. I felt like I was in a fog as I walked through the store and watched other people going through their shopping routine unaware that a tragedy had taken place 24 hours earlier. Upon returning home I continued to feel very unsettled so I turned to the One who often comforts me in difficult times. I asked the Lord for a word of comfort to try and make sense of this "unnatural"event where children die before their parents. The Lord led me to Psalm 90:1-12 which was the meditation from the devotional booklet, "Our Daily Bread." This Psalm holds special meaning for me as it was a favorite Psalm of my great-grandmother and my great aunt. In fact I read this Psalm at my great aunt's funeral service. The first eleven verses make reference to the brevity of life and it was verse 12 that captured my attention. "Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom." Another word for gain is "harvest." We are to harvest a "heart" of wisdom. The heart in Biblical language is the center of the human spirit, from which spring emotions, thought, motivation, courage, and action. It is the wellspring of life according to Proverbs 4:23. The writer of the meditation in "Our Daily Bread" challenges the reader to think about the meaning of "numbering our days." He suggests that our focus needs to be on gaining wisdom and becoming more Christ-like. I confess that I can go through life's routine assuming that it will carry on uninterrupted. However, I am quick to point out to my clients that we can not assume that when we leave our homes we will return safely later on that day. The writer of the meditation also states, "The relentless ticking of the clock reminds us that our time on earth is limited. Despite the joys and pains of life, time always marches on. For the believer, our time on earth is an opportunity for gaining wisdom....Numbering our days is the wise response to life's inevitable progress." I asked the Lord, "How am I numbering my days?" If a young man's life can be over at age 17, what are we to do with the time we have been given? If my life were to end tomorrow would others be able to say of me that they saw the Lord transforming my life? As Jacob's family and friends move through the days of grief and pain ahead, there is the assurance that God knows how it feels to lose a child because He lost His Son.  One of my favorite CD's is by the Taubl Family. There are 7 children (3 girls and 4 boys) all musically gifted. The three sisters put out a CD in 2001 and it includes a song that still brings tears to my eyes. I pray the words will bring some measure of comfort to Jacob's family, friends and all who are experiencing loss. 
 "He's Been To The Top" (The Taubl Sisters)
"The mountain is just sometimes too hard to climb, the way is steep and there's never enough time. You look up ahead, you see the dangers and you say, you fear that you've lost both your vision and your way. You can't take another step, your strength is all but lost. Then a hand reaches out for you, that has been nailed to a cross. And that's when you hear Him say,
 (Chorus) I've been to the top and I want to take you there,
So don't lose hope, don't you ever give up,
I know that you're tired and I know it's scary out there,
I've been to the top and I want you to know there is no struggle there,
Only peace and joy.
The mountain that Jesus climbed for me, was a long dusty road that led to Calvary. He took all my pain and He bore all my burdens that day. In the darkest hour of life, He's waiting to take your cares away. So wander aimlessly no more, just rest in Him complete. There's a peaceful childlike quietness when you kneel down at His feet. And that's when you hear Him say..(Chorus)
May Jacob rest in the peace and joy of our Lord as we wait to join him at the top.
Shalom,
Pastor Sheree

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