The Final Breath (Shepherd’s Echo)

[The Shepherd’s Echo is a reposting of a previously published TheShepherdsPen.]

As I inch ever closer to the end of my 6th decade on the face of the earth I realize with each passing week little reminders, new “bills” appear in my biological mailbox alerting me of some “overdue” malady. “You’re kidding me! I thought I paid that!”

My eyesight is a skosh dimmer. My hearing a tad bit duller. An aching awareness of many more muscles and joints than I thought I had is brought to mind. And my hair is a hint more “pastoral” platinum than it was 5 years ago. My abilities to live as a teenager are indeed fading, and though I may be growing older, and I may not be able to perform in the way I did at 30, I still have the choice to grow in my character and my integrity, in my resoluteness to live for Christ.

These physical updates and insights remind me that at some point along this earthen path we walk we shall draw our final breath; shall draw my final breath.

Having taken many along the way, each one is numbered, ordained by God–some 7,363,289 breaths per year, each one serving to fill the lungs and sustain the system in these vessels of life. The precious breath of life.

How many were drawn with poor intent? How many in peace? How many invested in the cause of Christ?

I know many were grasped in huffs of anger, or expelled in drafts of deep despair. Some sustained fear or resentment. And some, perhaps too few, were inspired in joy, the precious joy of the Lord.

God, help me to promote truth. God, help me not to cause division in the Body of Christ. God, help me not to grumble.  Or to gossip. Or to berate. Or to lie. God help me, Please!

Yes, at some point I will take my last breath. At some point you will draw your last. The heart will take notice. Your lungs. Your blood. Your organs. Your brain. Alerts will begin to “sound.” Counter-measures deployed. Still, you are well on your way to the life here-after. I would pray that the arms which greet you are those of the perfect God, who welcomes you into a beautiful eternal relationship of heavenly order.

I pray when that final breath comes, it is taken with elation, an air of peace.
I pray when that final breath comes, it is drawn with thankfulness for the many before it which were undeservedly granted.
I pray when that final breath comes, we joyously present to God the fruit of His labor in molding us to the image of Christ.

Moses says it well in Psalm 90:12:
“So teach us to number our days,
That we may present to You a heart of wisdom.”

Life is a beautiful gift. But, “soon it is gone and we fly away” (Psalm 90:10).

Our days are indeed limited. They have been sovereignly entrusted with  purpose.

May we not be careless, but prudent and wise; may we number our breaths as well.

None of us know when that final breath will be; we do not know how many are left. We do not know if the one we just took is the last. We do not know our “expiration” date. We don’t know until…well, we just don’t know. The best we can do is appreciate every moment of life and live wisely for Christ.

I so want to present to Him a heart of wisdom!