The second we fall into everlasting arms

Published 7:17 pm Wednesday, February 14, 2018

The second we fall into Everlasting Arms… A text message lit my cell phone screen. After reading the first sentence, a chill crept down my spine. Seconds before, I was enjoying a pleasant drive home to Atlanta from South Florida. Old tunes played on the radio while the sun warmed the car.   

Old songs that reminded me of sock hops and school days. Happy that traffic was light and my spirit was in a joyful, quiet place.   

Then the message. An old high school friend had fallen on a black diamond ski slope in Nevada. An avid, trained, excellent skier who was accustomed to such treacherous runs became motionless in the snow.  Severely injured, he was airlifted to a trauma center in Reno. In less than a minute, this fit, robust man who could fly down the highest slopes was now flying away to be saved by teams of doctors.

In less than a minute, my warm spirit moved into the cold chill of tragedy. In less than a minute, the skies that had been sunny were now gray, and rain had started to fall. “How apropos,” I thought.

How many times in our lives have we been gliding through a day, easily thinking of the mundane only to have it upended by a terrible message?  How many times in our lives does sunshine turn to storms in a second? 

The longer we live, the more we experience life changing, turns of reality. They can be challenging and horrific. When a disaster occurs, we may think we will not survive to see another sunny day. Whether these tragedies are mental, physical, or spiritual, they test our resolve and resilience. 

Most everyone has gone through traumas in life. I am in awe at the strength that can arise from such downfalls. I am constantly amazed at the power of our inner being.

How can we go from wondering what we are going to have for dinner, to facing death, or illness, or a fall down a black diamond in a less than a minute?

I believe this aiding power is not ours at all. The power that fills us in those horrible times is the power of God. If you can’t see him there, you probably need new glasses. It is that power that shines through the darkness of tragedy and serves as a beacon to guide us back into the light of day. 

I will never forget another friend standing in a church, giving a eulogy for his son who had tragically, suddenly died. The beacon of strength that shone through him that day was an inspiration to all who witnessed it. I immediately thought, “If he can stand and do this, then his strength will inspire me to face anything.”

Have you ever met folks in life that complain about stupid stuff? I sure have. They worry about everything and obsess about things that don’t matter. They hold onto to resentment and anger as if it is a valuable trait. I wonder “have these folks ever lived through a tragedy?”

For if they had, they didn’t get the message that each second counts. They didn’t quite get the fact that when we travel through tribulation, we can pick up more faith, wisdom, and thankfulness to aid us in our travels on down the road.

The real tragedy occurs when we don’t embrace life and make our seconds count on this earth. When we put things off, when we don’t call a friend in need, when we don’t take care of ourselves, when we don’t try, and when we don’t forgive, we are not living life to the fullest.  When we don’t understand that loves can be lost, and lives can change in a matter of a second, we cannot appreciate the seconds we have.

Have you ever met folks that were so afraid to try something new or different because they were afraid of failing, falling or dying? I sure have. Fear of failure, falling or dying is a sure way to avoid the freedom found in living.

Yes, my friend suffered a tragic ski accident.  But how many times did he enjoy the ski runs?  How many times did he feel the wind fly by as he swished through the pristine white powder? 

After the bones heal, and the rehab is over, my pal will once again glide across the glistening snow. The storm will have passed.

The sun will warm the air as he fills his mind with old tunes, family, good friends and thankfulness.

Our world can turn in a second, but when we lean on the healing power of God’s everlasting arms, soon the seconds will turn into hours, days and the rest of our lives.