So teach us to number our days
that we may get a heart of wisdom. – Psalm 90:12
We know for certain that, unless the Lord returns first, we will all die. But what we do not know is the where, how, and when. At some point, others will be living in our homes, driving our cars, and our bodies will take up new residents in a small plot of ground while our spirits go to whatever place God has assigned in judgment. This could start today, tomorrow, a year from now, 20 years from now, or 50, but it is still inevitable; we will die.
Why has God made death such a certainty but the where, when, and how so uncertain? Is it not so that He affords us every opportunity to repent without delay? How foolish it is when a person says in his heart, “Today I shall make merry and live as a fiend, an adulterer, a thief, a liar, a swindler, a drunkard, for God is not coming for a long time.” Our Lord may come at any time! But what do so many people do, including those who consider themselves Christians? They either disregard any notions of true repentance and conversion, or they put off repentance day after day after day thinking they can play the odds and hold off conversion until a moment before their last breath.
And by our culture’s standards, we teach our kids to do this when we permit them to live foolishly and pursue their carnal desires and rationalize it by saying, “They have to get it out of their system; make their mistakes now so they don’t do them later.” But this is foolishness. The most impressionable time of the human life is childhood, between the ages of 0 to about 19. It is during this time that we should be teaching our children repentance, faithfulness, the Commandments, the Creed, the Lord’s Prayer, and a right view of the Sacraments, and developing in them good and God-pleasing habits, rather than allowing them to develop habits established in worldliness, ESPECIALLY knowing that our public universities are full of wickedness and temptations to deny that God even exists, and especially knowing that even our children can die at any time. And should they die without conversion and living instead according to the flesh, they will be judged accordingly.
For a Christian to live as a non-Christian and yet wanting to die a Christian is the epitome of foolishness! To go through life intentionally running the wrong direction while wanting to win the race and reach the goal…only the devil himself could make us think such craziness is profitable. May God preserve us from such self-deception, draw us to daily repent, to die to our old selves, so that in Christ, we live by faith in the mercy and forgiveness of His cross.
Heavenly Father, repent me! Convert me each day to die to sin and live in You. Keep me from the passions and desires of the flesh but help me subdue my flesh and instead dwell in Your salvation. Help my children to also live in daily repentance and faith so that, should their time come, they will not fear the judgment. In Jesus’ name, amen.