"Your eyes have seen my unformed substance;
And in Your book were all written
The days that were ordained for me,
When as yet there was not one of them."
These words have been repeating themselves in my head these past few days. A little-known missionary in a small Cameroonian town joined the Savior's side in his eternal home last week. Only, he wasn't unknown. He was well-known by the believers in Cameroon, well-loved by his family and friends, by the small non-denominational church he was part of before he answered the call of God to travel to another country and culture and he is remembered fondly by the many who knew him. I thought about him while I was shoveling snow. I thought about how he moved his wife and son to Cameroon - was it a few short years ago? How he spent his life serving and loving Jesus...how he did not know that early that Wednesday morning he would take his last breath this side of Heaven. I think about him most of my day...as I pray for his wife and sons. You see, his life is a reminder to me, to you, to each of us. Really, none of us know. We just can not say for sure that we will wake up tomorrow to hug our kids, to speak truth in to one more life, to say we are sorry for that harsh tone or judgmental spirit.
No, we just have not been given the knowledge of when our time on earth will end...but God knows. He has known since before He created me. He determined the number of my days before I ever took a breath. The number of my days? I have no choice about that...I don't get to choose how long I live, how many blinks I take. Each and every day I breath, every morning I awake, this is a gift...a gift from God. That little-known missionary? He could have chosen to stay here in the states, to remain in the comfort of what he knew. He still would have died...who knows, maybe shoveling snow on a blustery winter day like today in the northwest. But he did not. No, he chose to live only and always for Jesus, going where He called...life to its fullest is found only in the Christ.
There is something really beautiful about this gift, this life...found in the freedom we are given to choose how we will spend it. How will I occupy my days? How will I spend the next minute, hour, day? This man, he set his heart on God and he spent his time serving the Savior. These last couple of years when his single purpose has been service to his Savior are the continuation of his living out his close walk with the Lord.
For me? Just like him, the days I have are already numbered. How I choose to live them is my choice. I can choose to fill my minutes, hours, days in pursuit of selfish ambitions, the latest fashion, the newest trend, the best technology, the next best unsatisfying thing. Or, I can choose to fill my days with Jesus, just only, always Jesus. I can prioritize His Word, reading it, praying, getting to know this living, breathing Word, letting the Word live in me, transform me, reach out to those around me. Dedicate those minutes, hours, days to getting to know my Savior better, serving Him selflessly, or I can spend them on myself. Either way, those days are going to come to an end...either way, I am one day going to be done counting the years...and I am going to have to give an account of those days to the One who ordained them before I was ever born.
So, how am I going to live? How am I going to spend those minutes, hours, days, weeks, months, years? What do I want people to remember at the end of a hard, long road? Do I want them to say, "I saw Jesus" or "She always got what she wanted." Because really, my life is going to be marked by something or it can be marked by Someone. My prayer is that it will be marked by Jesus. He is what people remember...not me. That like this missionary whom we remember as a presence that could fill a room, with a laugh that could draw a crowd and with a love for Jesus that shined to all, an obedience to his God, even when he was called to a far away place called Cameroon, I could know, follow, obey Jesus.
At the end of my days - whenever that comes, may it be said of me that people saw always, only Jesus.