Our church recently lost a wonderful lady due to a heart attack. She was a Sunday School teacher and a bus driver. In fact, she was driving the bus when she had the heart attack. Thankfully, she was able to get the bus off the road and no kids were seriously injured. Her death was a shock to everyone. Though we believe she is celebrating with Jesus, her loss is still sad.
When faced with death, I can't help but think about our illusion of control. We often live our lives as if we are in charge. We do what we want when we want. And we might even live a cautious life. But we can't escape death. We don't plan it. It just happens, unexpectedly most the time. For instance, we can be the best driver on the road, but that doesn't protect us from bad drivers. Even though we think we can control our lives, we can't control everything around us. We can't control tornadoes or fires or earthquakes or hurricanes.
Several years ago I drove past the scene of an accident, and there was a tarp covering the front of one of the vehicles. For those of you that don't know, a tarp means there's a body to be shielded from viewers. Some one died that day. And I was struck with what must have been going through that person's mind. Was it just another day of running errands? Were they traveling? Did they wake up that day knowing it would be their last? Of course not. In a matter of seconds, their life ended. And I think about a girl from my hometown who was having routine shoulder surgery; she didn't live through it. And the kid who was playing basketball with his buddies, and his heart just gave out; he collapsed and died almost instantly. Then there's the guy who was driving down the road I live on. He struck another vehicle and died immediately. More than a year later, I still think about him when I drive past where he died. All these people were just going about their day, doing nothing unusual. And their lives ended, just like that.
All this is just a reminder of one simple fact: our lives are not our own. We are not in charge.