The Holy Carpe Diem – Seize Eternity Now

Two women face death by cancer. Not a road any of us would choose.

They can’t opt out of death but they can make other important choices along the way. This week, each of them, Brittany and Kara, have shared their end of life choices publicly. One will take the timing of her death into her own hands; the other will trust the timing to God. One has chosen to petition for the right to die. The other has given voice to the right to live to the very end, embracing God’s plan even when it involves suffering, trusting that even that works together for good.

As I read their words, I felt the weight of each grain of sand flowing from the top to the bottom of my own hourglass.

I don’t have cancer but death also waits for me. These women remind me to redeem the days. Today I’m healthy. Tomorrow I may meet death or it may be waiting for me thirty years down the road. Only God knows and that’s my preference.

But what’s clear to me is that when death is imminent, most of us alter our daily plans. We whittle. We eliminate. We streamline. We engage with big picture plans and set aside tasks that lack lasting value. We pay attention. We inhale deeply. We hear. See. Smell. Feel. Speak up. Speak out.

When we feel death’s hot breath on our necks, we shake each day the way my mother snapped wet bedsheets to rid them of wrinkles before she pinned them to the clothesline to catch the breeze.

I pondered this today, how best to redeem the days, my own holy carpe diem.

There will be no regret when I meet Jesus. None. It will evaporate in His presence. But what, I thought, are the choices I can make with my time now that I will celebrate having made on that day? (To God be the glory for every inspiration toward maturing in Him.) I thought of several but I’ll start with sharing three in this post.

One, I won’t regret reducing the time I spend analyzing my reflection in the mirror. How I look forward to my heavenly body! The body that awaits me in Jesus is free of the weight of imperfect human judgments. It carries no baggage and will not be my enemy at any moment. It will be a partner with my soul and I will wear it lightly. I can step into my eternal life now by decreasing my mirror time and reflecting, instead, on the mirror of God’s word. How much better to reflect the Lord than to continue to lament and tweak that which I will abandon when I leave for home!

Two, I won’t regret pausing to consider my words before I speak. How I look forward to speaking freely when my tongue is no longer relearning its freedom from sin! How beautiful the sound of us all with light words, love words, true words in abundance flooding the heavens and new earth with a waterfall of words that dance, sing, and heal. How lovely to know that left behind us, destined to the abyss, are words of deception, greed, complaint, criticism, and pain! A rapid response may be a hit with the crowd but I’m playing for an audience of One. Eternity abides in the wisdom of that pause.

Three, I won’t regret even my small attempts to embrace gratitude and contentment. Every moment I choose to forsake covetousness, greed, lust, dissatisfaction, and self-pity is a moment I step the toe of my soul across the threshold of God’s kingdom. What a wonderful experience it will be to witness brothers and sisters receiving their heavenly reward and to rejoice with each rather than to compare or begrudge. No, loved ones, there will be no sin in that place so when one receives greater rewards, we will agree with the Lord, “Yes, this is right” and be content with His reward for us. Whatever taste I can experience of that now is a tiptoe peek over heaven’s transom.

Sometimes we sleep in life. Kara and Brittany have received their wake-up calls but Jesus sounded the alarm for everyone who lives in Him. Unfortunately, too many of us keep hitting the snooze button.

Why wait for death to knock? Listen to the Spirit when He speaks. “Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.” Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil.” Ephesians 5:14b-16

I’ll share more thoughts in my next post. What thoughts has this stirred in you? How will you redeem the days? What inspires you to stop hitting SNOOZE?

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    The Conversation

  1. Bruce Cunningham says:

    You are an amazing writer Lori.

    Thank you for this encouragement.

  2. Betsy Ryan says:

    Daily, I find myself in a mode of thankfulness, although contentment still eludes me, at times. One case in point: the battle that rages on for my husband’s release from fears of many things, not the least of which, is his fear of heavenly eternity knocking on his door before his time. That, coupled with the fact that he’s not saved (yet!), keeps my armor polished and my stance, one of much grace and whatever Holy Spirit leads me to do.
    So… thank you, for this bit of wisdom, and may we all stay awake, persevere and stand together for His peace to reign in our hearts!

  3. Carla says:

    Amen, Lori. There was a popular Christian song 10 years or so ago, part of the lyrics are: ‘If you believe He’s coming back tomorrow, then live like He’s coming back today’. IF we did this, whether we die tomorrow or 30 years from now, our lives would have meaning, no matter HOW short. As Christians, I believe we should be redeeming the days, trying to wring every drop out of each hour. I pray we consider your words today, and vow to make a difference somewhere every day.

    Thanks for the reminder!

    • Kristin says:

      Elijah knew when it was his last day. On that day the Lord sent him: 1) from Gilgal to Bethel, 2) from Bethel to Jericho; 3) from Jericho to the Jordan; 4) across the Jordan. The Bible doesn’t say, but probably he was preaching in each location. Day by day, we need to “walk in a manner worthy.” Then it doesn’t matter when is the last day.