Today a new calendar is hung
After auld lang syne was sung
Reflection and recollection done
New plans have arisen with the sun.
Yesterday is forever buried
New expectations now carried
Hope for a better tomorrow
Desire to avoid bitter sorrow
This year will bring the unexpected
Old goals may be resurrected
No crystal ball can reveal it
Or legislation force or repeal it
What will you do with this annum,
Which itself will next year be a phantom?
Will you take its reins with vigor
Or delay and await for what’s bigger?
Make each new day really count
Let not fear or worry surmount
Trust in God, the giver of time
Keep aiming for an eternity sublime.
Take not the day for granted,
Who knows what the morrow brings,
What present joy be recanted,
What shut the mouth that now sings.
Too often we long for tomorrow,
Assuring ourselves it will be perfect,
Dissatisfied with present perceived sorrow
Viewing only today’s every defect.
But right now, this moment, is precious
It holds a bright and unique treasure
For the one with wisdom who confesses
Trust in Him who blesses without measure
Yes, God gave us this day in His kindness
To use for His glory and pleasure
How tragic to be struck with a blindness
To how rare and how useful that treasure.
So many have not been gifted these hours
They’ve ceased their ability to live them
Who long for what now exceeds their powers
Whose light is put out, not just dim.
What are we doing with the present
To build a spectacular time ahead
To make others’ lives blessed, not just pleasant
To bring life to the spiritually dead
Take not the day for granted,
It was given to be managed astutely
Embrace it, don’t be disenchanted
Do your best with it, strive resolutely!
I was in Harrisonburg, Virginia, holding a gospel meeting for the Central congregation. In the mornings, I was putting finishing touches on lessons on the Conquest through Divided Kingdom which I would be teaching the next week in Coimbatore, India. That was what I was doing on Tuesday morning while Kathy took our small sons, ages 7, 5, and 3, to a nearby park to play. Just before 9 A.M., I had the door of our hotel room open when a tearful hotel maid in broken English told me to turn on the TV, that it was very bad news. It was Matt and Katie on the Today Show, breaking the awful story of a plane crash. Then, a second plane hit and it was immediately apparent that this was no accident. While the word “surreal”—bizarre, like a dream—is overused, the events of 9-11 fit the definition. Suddenly, things changed.
My mission trip to India would ultimately be cancelled, as we were scheduled to leave from Reagan International. The mood during our gospel meeting changed. There was a change, an increase, in spirituality in the hours and day or two which followed as evidenced even in normally irreverent late night television. The nation was on high alert, gripped by fear, as three of our landmarks were struck by terrorists and a fourth was spared only after heroic efforts of passengers on a plane over western Pennsylvania.
But more fundamentally, plans for 2,996 people were most permanently changed. That many people who woke up alive on September 11, 2001, would die in the terrorist attacks. This included people in the World Trade Center, Pentagon, four commercial airplanes, and emergency responders. Only God knows how many of them were prepared for death, but no doubt only the hijackers knew that death was about to come for them.
Before and after 9/11, large numbers of people died in airplane crashes, building fires, and other sudden tragedies. More than 150,000 people in the world have their plans permanently changed by the coming of death. Matthew 7:13-14 would indicate that the vast majority of them are unprepared for death. Someday, death will change our plans. Thanks to Jesus’ death, if we have obeyed Him and serve Him faithfully, our death will mean changing from temporal pain to eternal peace. Do your plans include Jesus?