This week, I seem to hear about the tragic loss of a child every time I turn around. A child terminally ill with cancer. A drowning. A car accident. An act of violence. Some losses are from disease, some from accidents, and some... God helps us, were due to intentional acts of hate.
With each loss, the pain bores a little deeper into my soul. With each news report, my hearts breaks a little more. So much sadness, so much loss. I have prayed for their families; I have prayed for mine. I have shed tears for their loss and their grief; I have shed tears because I love my family dearly and life is so fragile.
These tragedies remind me that each day that my family is together safe and sound is a gift. Each night that my family returns home safely and sleeps peacefully under one roof is a blessing. It reminds me to hold my children close. To hug them tight. To keep them near and dear to my heart, where they always have been.
There is no guarantee of tomorrow. So I should live today with all of my heart. God has given me today, and I shouldn't waste it, shouldn't take it for granted. Today isn't just another day... today is God's gift to my family. Yesterday wasn't just another day; it was a gift to my family.
These great losses have also reminded me about what really matters in life. We, or at least I, am guilty of confusing my needs and my wants. Too often we hear people saying, "I need new clothes." - "I need a bigger house." - "I need a vacation." - "I need this.. I need that." But if we were to stop and think really long and hard about it, if we examined our hearts and our motives... would this really be the truth? Do we really need these things? Or are they just wants, and for the most part, very self-centered wants? There are very few things that we truly need. People have lived long, prosperous, productive lives in very small homes, wearing very old clothes, and never leaving their home state to "see the world." The secret? They were content. ("But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus," Philippians 4:19 KJV)
God doesn't say that we can't wish, hope, and dream. Yet, He does ask that we be content with right where we are and with just what we have. Dream all you want; hope is a powerful thing. Still, if those wishes never come true... if you never accomplish your dreams, will you still be content and happy? Will you still feel blessed? Therein lies the difference. Contentment. ("Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content," Philippians 4:11)
Tragic losses remind us to put things in perspective. My family is home safely, clothed and fed, and in good health. We are loved by God and by each other. Our needs are met. Everything else is just a "want." What a blessing. I am content.