You Know Not When

When will your time come? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

There are warnings in the New Testament that you know not at what time your Lord will come. That is true. On the other hand, so is the reverse. You know not at what time you will come to the Lord.

Yesterday after driving home from the grocery store after church, I get the news that Alex Trebek has died. I am a gameshow junkie and I grew up watching Jeopardy. I was quite saddened to hear the news. I had last heard his fight against cancer was going well, but I guess not that well. It was a surprise, but it was not totally unexpected. When you have cancer at that level, you can prepare for it.

Then last night I’m browsing through Facebook to see what people are talking about and I see someone talk about the death of Ben Arbour. Ben was a friend of mine on Facebook, but sadly, I never got to know him well. Now I won’t get to this side of eternity.

So what did he die from? Did he have cancer? Did he have COVID? What was it?

None of those. He and his wife were hit by a drag racer. Their car burst into flames and the Arbours and other driver were killed.

The last post Ben Arbour had made on his Facebook page was something about how he was proud of his dad. For him, he probably anticipated life would go on as normal. It wouldn’t. They left behind four children who are aged from 10 to 16.

In this story, everyone thought they would be going about their lives. The drag racer though the same thing. At one moment, he’s in an illegal race just trying to go faster than another driver. In the next moment, his ultimate race is over and now there’s no going back. We can hope he was prepared for eternity.

Ben Arbour was also in ministry. That’s no exception to the rule. If you’re doing ministry, you don’t get a free pass for God to protect you from suffering in your life or even an untimely death. Also, whoever you are, you are not needed by God. You are wanted and desired, but God can bring about His plans without you. God is not up in Heaven wondering how things are going to turn out now that the Arbours are gone. That is not to insult them at all. The same could be said if the same event happened to me. It is to humble us. To get to be used by God is a privilege.

We can imagine looking back and wishing we had done things differently. Did we need to spend all that time on Facebook? Did we really have to watch that game on TV? Did we really have to get to that level in that video game? I’m not saying these activities are wrong, but they need to be put in their proper perspective. We should enjoy our lives, but the purpose of our life is not just amusement.

But here are some things likely that won’t be regretted.

The wife won’t say, “I really regret spending that time making love to my husband. I wish I had spent that time better.”

The parent won’t say, “I really regret going to my child’s baseball game. I could have spent that time better.”

The adult child won’t say, “I really regret making those phone calls to my Mom just to talk with her. I could have spent that time better.”

We won’t regret time spent in prayer or money given to a good charity. We won’t regret doing pure acts of love just for doing them. We won’t regret being thankful for what is happening in our day. We will wish we had forgiven more, listened more, and loved more.

None of us is entitled. None of us is owed anything. The only exception is if God explicitly promised you something, much like He promised Simeon that he wouldn’t die until he saw the Christ. Since that is true, all that God gives you is a gift. Be thankful. Love what you have and celebrate that.

You know not what hour your Lord will come. Neither do you know at what hour you will come to the Lord. Be ready anyway.

Prayers to the family of Alex Trebek, the Arbours, and yes, the drag racer who died as well.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

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