The greatest mystery of all is why God puts so much emotion, energy and effort into the lives of us humans. In the month of January we celebrate the sanctity of life. It causes us to ponder; Why is life so important? There is a universal sigh of relief when just one living person is dug out of a destruction zone after a major disaster. Some place deep inside each person that knows instinctively that human life is a rare jewel although as common as trees in the forest.
This month we will gather to remember the life of my father-in-law, Danny Newman. We celebrated his 85th birthday in April. He loved his Auburn University hat and other gifts as he was very much connected to living his life even two years after the death of his wife. His life is always an example for me that God is the designer of life and that He alone leads us in how we should live our lives. Danny’s heart was never strong since having had five bypasses in his fifties. Almost ten years ago, I got a call while on a mission trip that he was in the hospital with heart issues and not expected to live. That made sense because his heart was so bad. The doctor who treated him told him that he could not have more surgery. He explained that he had two choices. They could do nothing, and he would die or he could put another stent inside the ones he already had. The doctor was very frank and shared that his own father-in-law was in the same condition and he put in a stent that gave him ten more days of life before he passed. That doctor never could have predicted that Danny would have ten more years to live life.
I watched his life during these ten years. I have witnessed assignments that only he could do. He cared for his invalid wife most of those years (causing much unrest among his children for fear that his heart would give out when he was alone with her). His life intersected with people he was divinely designed to touch. I remember a story about a day when his wife, Jerry, was in the hospital and he took her out to the patio for some sun. They met a man and his daughter there and got caught up in a jovial and nostalgic conversation about people they both knew. The next day that daughter found Danny and Jerry in the hospital with tears in her eyes. She explained that her dad had passed away in the night but that the conversation they had the day before was the most normal she had seen her dad in many months. She was so grateful for their part in giving her a chance to be truly with her dad for an hour before he left this earth. Danny was gifted with conversation and continued to visit the skilled nursing side of the retirement center he lived in after his wife’s death. He knew the people who resided there did not get many visitors, but he would never forget them. Danny’s life on earth is over. He has passed on to the other side, joining his wife, Jerry, and his son, Brian, who both have gone before him.
God is the giver of life. Genesis 2:7 says:
Then the Lord God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.
The breath of life is a gift from God. It is only given for the number of years marked out for us on this earth. When we breathe it in with awareness of the God who gave it, we get the most out of our lives here on earth. God is life. Satan is death. He comes to kill, steal and destroy (John 10:10).
Life is sacred. All life is connected uniquely to God. The number of our days on earth mark out the distance each of us will live. We live well as we honor all life that is God-given and seek to find the purpose for which He gave it.