Life is short and it is lived out as represented in the dash printed on every tombstone. It is the legacy of our life, what we did. After my father died we had a double head stone built for my parents and on my mother’s side it just read; 1918 – blank. That is what yours and mine would look like. By definition living in the dash is the time between birth and death. This time is a gift from God to those around us. We are given talents and gifts and abilities to make something of our lives. What we do depends on the decisions we make.
God has had a plan for our lives from the beginning. Psalm 139 says, 13 You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother's womb. 14 Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous--and how well I know it. 15 You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion, as I was woven together in the dark of the womb. 16 You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed. 17 How precious are your thoughts about me, O God! They are innumerable!” We have choices to make finding and knowing God’s plan for our life.
There is an appointed time to die, a time that the dash is closed. In Hebrews 9:27 it says, “And as it is appointed for men to die once,” Yet, the decisions we make may bring untimely death. Unhealthy eating habits, drinking too much alcohol, or doing drugs, or even working in dangerous places that were not God’s plan can bring death too soon. There is an enemy of God that is out to stop God’s plan for your life. Satan will tempt you to take drugs, get drunk and then drive, and if you don’t cut your life short, you could cut someone else’s life short. There is an appointed time to die. Babies die, teens die, old people die. We never know when our last day will be. But we do know this; we can know the one who has the plan and seek to do his will and to be a blessing to our family and friends.
Every life is for a purpose. Even if God knew and maybe even ordained for it to be a short life there was a purpose. Lives of the family and friends are touched by the life of the one who has passed and purpose was accomplished. Their life was a gift of God to us. We must cherish the memories.
When our hearts suffer because a loved one has passed from this life to the next, we need to seek the comfort of the Lord God Almighty. He is there. He desires to comfort you in your grief; according to Isaiah chapter 53, which is a prophetic description of Jesus on the cross. Isaiah 53:4 “Surely He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed Him stricken, Smitten by God, and afflicted. 5 But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed.”
As you process through your grief, turn to the cross for the comfort of the Lord will be there for you. Make a memorial for your loved one who has passed. Write a poem, plant a tree, design a website, make a scrapbook. These activities will allow you to remember your loved one with fondness and express your love in a tangible way. Life goes on. It is necessary to continue with filling the dash of your own life even when you are processing through your time of grief.
I suggest that you tell your story to your children and your grandchildren. Writing it down is even a good idea. When my grandmother died, my uncle talked about a lady I never knew. I am one of the youngest of the grandchildren and only remembered her wonderful cooking and her sitting in a rocking chair. How much of her dash is forgotten. So I encourage you to tell your story and ask others about their story.
You have been given abilities and talents to use to write your life story so that it may be told one day when your dash finally closes. Let it be said that you followed the plan of God and did all you did to His glory. 1 Corinthians 10:31 “So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.”