This week we’re going to Alabama to visit Julie, David and the kids! Bob has a three day weekend so he’s going to take Robbie and me down there on Friday, and come back home Sunday night to work. Then, the following weekend he’ll make another trip down there to get us. Pretty sweet, huh? As I write this, it is only 4 days, 21 hours, 26 minutes, and 15 seconds…no, 14…13…12…11 (well you get the picture!) until we leave! I know, because I have a countdown clock on my computer that takes it right down to the second as to when we are supposed to leave. (That is “supposed,” because we seldom get out on the road on time!) I’m looking forward to a wonderful time with the Sanchezes in their new home. Julie tells me the kids are counting down the days with excitement, too!
I have a second countdown clock on my computer, as well. This one says 145 days, 23 hours, and 16 minutes… It also says Countdown to Ecuador! That’s right—in only 145 days I am going to Ecuador! Bob surprised me with the big announcement last week. He had arranged to take some time off in November to stay home with Robbie so that I could have a break and go to visit the Naranjos in Cuenca, Ecuador! Between his remaining vacation days, the Thanksgiving holiday and the weekends I will have two full weeks! I’m leaving on November 21st and will return on December 5th so I will be celebrating my birthday, Thanksgiving and an early Christmas with the family down there. The kids are already planning all the activities we will do, getting the games we’ll play lined up and deciding between themselves with whom Grandma is sleeping each night! I get an e-mail every day from Gabi asking, “What’s the countdown now, Grandma?”
I have a pretty good hubby, wouldn’t you say? ☺
It is wonderful to have something to look forward to! We all eagerly anticipate that upcoming vacation…a wedding…the birth of a new baby…the arrival of a loved one…Christmas! Sometime in the fall we begin to be reminded “Only ___ Shopping Days until Christmas!” Hopefully, we are not so materially-minded that that is our sole focus where Christmas is concerned. (I have to admit, though, when my Countdown to Alabama! clock runs out I am going to replace it with a Countdown to Christmas clock because Julie’s family is planning to come here for Christmas this year! Whoo-Hoo! So many fun things to look forward to this year!)
Bob told me about my trip to Ecuador five months early, and left the planning and ticket-buying, etc up to me because he knew that was a big part of the fun for me. I bought the tickets the other day, and let me tell you—I was a nervous wreck buying them! I kept thinking, “What if Bob loses his job? What if Robbie gets sick? What if I get sick?” I called Bob at work several times while I was in the process because I was so nervous about it and having a hard time actually going through with it. Finally he said, to all my what-ifs, “Cindy, that’s life! Just order the tickets! If something happens, and we lose the money—well, God is in control!” So, I finally clicked that mouse, and voilá! I had my tickets, and at a very good price, too!
That is the thing with countdowns—all the best-laid plans of mice and men mean very little if the Lord has other plans for our lives. I had hoped to go to the Moon Pie and RC Festival in Bell Buckle, TN this month with my mom and sister, but Bob could not take a day off at that time to stay home with Robbie so I had to miss out. It was disappointing, of course, but I know the Lord had a reason for keeping me home that weekend.
This point was brought home to us this week once again in a very real way. The morning news on the television the other day told the tragic story of a family of five being killed out on I-65. They showed video of a burned out car and semi-truck. The report said a dad, mom, and their three children ranging in age from 13 months to 11 years old had perished in the accident. The pictures and story were horrifying and I remember shaking my head and thinking, “You never know what a day will bring forth…” Where was that family going that day? What were their plans? They had no idea when they got in the car that morning that it was to be their last minutes on earth.
A few hours later Bob called and asked if I had seen the story on TV. He then told me they had just received word that the family involved was the son, daughter-in-law and grandchildren of one of his co-workers. What had been terrible enough to begin with, now became personal and even more tragic because we could put a name and attach deep feelings to what had before been just another anonymous news story. (If you think of it, please pray for the Workman family as they deal with this terrible grief.)
God has His countdown clocks running, too! There is a countdown clock for each of our lives. Job 14:5 says, Seeing his [man’s] days are determined, the number of his months are with thee, thou hast appointed his bounds that he cannot pass. I do not dread God’s countdown clock for my life. When the sand runs through the hourglass He will take me home to a Heaven that is beyond my wildest imaginations, to a beauty and peace and joy beyond compare. My days are numbered here on this earth, as are each of ours, and only He knows where the countdown began and when it will finally read 00:00:00:00.
The Lord has another countdown clock running, as well, and that is the countdown until He comes again, first for His Church in the Rapture, and then His Second Coming to rule here on earth. The Bible tells us that no one but the Father knows the day or the hour when He will turn to His Son and say, “It’s time to go!” Man cannot predict that time. The angels don’t know when it will be. Even Christ Himself waits for His Father’s signal! But of that day and that hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father. (Mark 13:32)
If we are children of God we do not have to fear that day and hour, but can look forward to it with eager anticipation. I can hardly wait for my trips to Alabama and Ecuador! I can hardly wait for Christmas! How much more should I be dancing up and down in joyful expectation at the thought of an all-expense paid trip to Paradise! If remembering His first coming brings such excitement, how much more should the countdown to His Return bring?
I’m not just counting the days, I am also planning and preparing for my trips, and soon I will be packing. That is part of the fun of it! How much more should we be preparing for the end of our countdown here on earth? The Bible tells us to look for Him! Matthew 25:13 says, Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh. It should not just be a head-knowledge that He is coming again, but a true, eager expectation! When my kids are coming for a visit I am pacing the floor and looking out the window for sight of their car coming down the street. Look for Him for He is coming!
We should also be living for Him as we wait! Oh, sure I could pack my bags and sit out at the airport for the next 145 days as I wait for my flight, but that would be foolish, wouldn’t it? The Lord tells us over and over in His Word to be busy for Him, using our time wisely, reaching out to others, sharing the Gospel until He comes. If we could know that today was the last day of our lives, that we had only twenty-four hours left here on earth, I am sure we would spend those hours far differently than we normally do, wouldn’t we?
We won’t know when that final day has come, when God’s countdown clock has finally reached 00:00:00:00. Let us live as if it were today! Love your family as if it were the last time. Tell someone about Jesus before it is too late. Make sure that you are prepared for eternity—that you have accepted Jesus as your Savior and are trusting in Him alone for your salvation. And if you are His child, don’t be caught by surprise when He comes for you doing or thinking or saying something for which you would be embarrassed and ashamed. Live each day as if the countdown is nearing zero! It is not something to fear, but something to embrace with joy, peace and eager expectation!