My local newspaper includes a "Year in Review" section in the December 31 edition that is titled "In Memoriam." Pictured, and listed, are a number of nationally prominent persons who died in 2006. Also listed are a number of local people as well, several of whom were friends of mine. It seems that this kind of looking back on the loss of loved ones, as well as prominent people, is something we do every year at this time. For some years now, when I have read a story like this one, I have always done one thing: I have asked God to grant me the grace to live for his glory in 2007 with the full realization that this might be my last year. Of course, some year, at some point in time, will actually be my last year. I think about this a great deal and do not consider it morose in any true sense of the term.
This particular article began with this sentence: "Life is unpredictable." I pondered that statement most of the day. There is an obvious truism here for sure. Life is very unpredictable. We can be riding high one minute and taken down the next. But when it comes to death itself, to you dying, and to me dying, life is entirely predictable. Scripture puts this very bluntly: "People are destined to die once and after that to face judgment" (Hebrews 9:27).
I have always been amazed at how people will do almost anything they can to avoid the subject of their own death. We sometimes hear it said that there are two things you can't avoid---death and taxes. But I have known people who actually avoided taxes and got away with it. I know no one, however, who escaped death, or will escape it in the end, unless they are alive at the end of this present age when Jesus returns. It would be a genuinely healthy thing if we all entered this New Year knowing that death itself is certain for all of us. We are not sure what year, or day, death will come for us but it will surely come. We had best prepare now since preparing later may well be too late.