Sunday, September 9, 2012

Born to Die and Live Well

Let the favor of the Lord our God be upon us; and confirm for us the work of our hands; Yes confirm the work of our hands.

Psalm 90:17

I have worked in the medical field since 1986. I have been employed in a variety of settings. For most of my career I have enjoyed working with people. I have had many experiences dealing with a variety of personalities, beliefs, values, cultures, religious practices, and life choices. Although I have not always been in sync with these differences, I have appreciated the lens through which I have been blessed to experience humanity. In the presence of such variety, there has remained one common thread among every human being regardless of any difference they have; ten out of ten people die.

Yes, in spite of all the medicines and medical treatments I have rendered, and continue to provide, everyone still dies. What amazes me is not that medicine has yet to defeat death, because it cannot, but that people stop living their lives fighting death. We were placed here with intention and purpose. The psalmist asks God to "establish the work of [his] hands," making them effective and enduring. He understood his mortality; "As for the days of our life, they contain seventy years, or if due to strength, eighty years, yet their pride is but labor and sorrow; for soon it is gone and we fly away" (Psalm 90:10).

So, what provides a strong foundation for living well? Knowing we were born to die. Death is our school master. Once we have grasped the concept of dying, then living becomes easier. Accepting death frees us to live life with vision. This vision helps us to understand that relationships were not meant to last, that forgiveness opens the door to freedom and creativity, that each of us has a life work to accomplish in the presence of our inevitable mortality, and that love can be shared without fear, because "love never fails" (1 Cor. 13:8).  Being born to die reminds us that change begins and ends with ourselves, and that the opinions of others do not define our life's work.

Jesus too was born to die. He understood this and lived His life with intention and purpose. His life's work was effective and enduring. Because He died, I now have eternal life. 

Today, embrace death so that God "can confirm the work of your hands" and you can live well. 

Father, death does not have a hold on me. You do. It is you who provides effective and enduring work. As I embrace death, let me live well. Free me to love humanity without fear. Free me to forgive, and release my life's work through courage. "Confirm the work of my hands." Because of you, I can live in the presence of death. Amen. 

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