Phyllis, my son, Dave and I finished watching the celebrated HBO 7-part version of the life of John Adams. That was our second time. Well-acted, it projects a sober account of the battle that led to and followed up the American Revolution. You get an inside look at great men like George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, and, of course, John (and Abigail) Adams. But we did not close out our viewing with just a simple dismissal, "That was good." Often upon watching serious shows like this, I am affected, deeply moved, nearly transported in my mind by the sheer weight of the subject of a life lived well and by the finality, the dreadful shock of death. With Adams and Jefferson dying on the same day (July 4th, 50 years after signing) those signers of the Declaration of Independence had all died, but one. In a real sense, a long, colorful, turbulent time in our history was past. So much life lived. So little attention (it seems) to the even greater issue of life with God! Oh, the weight that overcomes me after viewing such films! You get to know these people, develop an appreciation for their personalities, quirks, and their more noble traits. Then you must watch them leave this earth. My heart cries out, "Oh, did you know Jesus Christ?" "Will I see you again?" It is not a light concern, personality flaw or a mere religious preference. These "heroes" of our early years as a country, I want to see in heaven--and I think I shall for some. But watching their lives made me realize that one cannot absorb all the living that takes place in a few people, much less all those who've ever lived! It's alarmingly overwhelming. I sit in a fog. I don't want to forget. It's as if they came back to life for a season, of course, only to expire once again re-aggravating the pain of loss.
What jolts me? It's the thought that so much life has been lived well beyond my control and mostly outside my knowledge or understanding. I praise God that He has always been at work in every country at all times in each person! Unfathomable! Were it not for my faith in this loving, sovereign Providence I could not hope to get back on track, to re-enter life's routines with any semblance of priority. It's difficult sometimes. I swallow, ponder and re-commit my heart, my life, my all to Jesus Christ who does all things well. Once again that ubiquitous phrase finds its appropriate target, "Teach us to number OUR days, so that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom" (Ps. 90:12). I am further comforted in the knowledge that He who created all things, has also determined the time and location of our lives so that each may "feel their way toward" God, and hopefully find Him (Acts 17:26-27). I trust this for them then, as well as for ourselves today.
My wonderful family has grown used to my nearly depressing angst in these times. (Other films have likewise left me deeply moved, e.g., "Amadeus" and "Saving Private Ryan" being two major culprits). If they sober my soul, far better is it to have experienced such heavy enlightenment than to have lived a life flitting about between mist and myth. If one lands hard, at least he has landed. Lord plant my feet on the sold ground of hope in Christ who has indeed ordered all things after the counsel of his own will to his own glory. That wins the day for me. My Lord will bring all things together, the just and unjust in one final and powerful display of divine judgment. On that I trust; in that I hope.