I feel as though I have been ensconced by death these past few weeks. Almost as if it were a dark mist: always surrounding me, making its presence known, but never actually touching me.
This past month has been riddled with natural disasters. Hurricanes have torn through the Caribbean and the Gulf, earthquakes have shaken Mexico to its roots, and wild fires have ravaged the north west. Add on top of it the ISIS attacks and the threat of nuclear war with North Korea, and death has a large presence.
But death has been more than a statistic to me. A couple of weeks ago, two freshman boys at my college passed away in a freak car accident on the highway that runs by campus. It is so easy to believe that you are invincible. I am young, healthy, there is no apparent reason to think that I would die young. And yet, I can almost promise you these boys believed the same thing. They had plans for their future – one wanted to go to pharmacy school. They had friends and family. They had just started a new chapter of their lives, and it was cut dramatically short.
I originally started this post just about them, but as I read it, I was dissatisfied. Something was missing, but I didn’t know what. Then the Holy Spirit spoke to me last night through one of my dearest friends Elisabeth, who shared a story and two videos with our Bible study.
The story was of a man named Nabeel Qureshi. He was a powerful witness for Christ. After growing up a devout Muslim, he converted to Christianity in college after rooming with a Christian (who incidentally was on the debate team). He has written two books, spoken at countless events, and worked for Ravi Zacharias International Ministries. He had such a beautiful ministry, and was such an incredible witness for the Lord. Then one day, he found out he had stomach cancer. He fought fearlessly for a year, with thousands of people praying for his healing. Last week, however, he finished his earthly ministry and went to be in the arms of his Savior.
A year before this, though, he spoke at Biola University’s graduation ceremony. This is what he said – click here to watch the video.
After watching this, I realized what my original post was missing. It was missing purpose. Because in reality, it all comes down to that: are we fulfilling our purpose on this earth? This is something that I wrestle with almost daily, trying to accomplish something that will matter longer than my most recent test grade.
None of the recent deaths in the world are an accident. They all happened for a purpose and in the Lord’s perfect timing. We can’t do anything to change them, but what we can do is learn from them. I have found that I question the purpose of my life much more when faced with my mortality than I do when everything is fine. It is so easy to forget temporarily that every moment we live is a count down to the end of our life on this earth.
A few years ago, Stephen R. Covey posted on Twitter, “The key is not in spending time but investing it. How will you invest your time this year?” We are only given a small amount of time to fulfill our purpose, and we never know how long it will be until it is too late.