Tuesday, March 11, 2008

A Senseless Death

I've been confronted lately by what seems like senseless deaths.

Cyd Mizell is apparently dead at the hands of terrorists who lack the courage to reveal their faces. Her parents grieve for the goodbyes that were never said. A ministry community struggles not to be defined by fear, but by faith.

Within the past two weeks, three college women were murdered - one in my town. One was the student government president. Another was only weeks from graduation. Parents are confronted with realities they never considered in those promising early years of college.

The stories could go on - we all know far too many of them. The question all such incidents raise is "Why?". Especially when there is no easily-seen glory, no obvious kingdom significance, we question. We label it "senseless".

I leave it to God to make sense of these circumstances. I've decided that far more important than fretting over the possibility of a senseless death is avoiding a senseless life. Avoiding what John Piper calls a wasted life. The life that many people dream about, collecting seashells at the beach and living from tee time to tee time, Piper calls wasted. I'm calling it senseless.

God prepared good works for us to walk in. Over and over, the New Testament exhorts us to practical acts of servant love, to good deeds rather than endless disputes. To loving God and others radically, having a kingdom mindset in all things. Maybe we have some inexplicable death (like Stephen or James or Peter or Paul) - and maybe we just go on to live a ripe old age and die naturally (like John). But our lives at least would not have been senseless.

I've fretted over these deaths the last couple of days, but I've decided that's a wasted focus. Tragedies though they were, the real tragedy is not a senseless death, but a senseless life.

May it never be, Lord. May it never be.

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