There is something distinctly urgent about endings.
We become keenly aware of our submission to the passing of time. We can throw any kind of emotional tantrum, but the hands of the clock march steadily on whether we look at them with anger or pain or excitement. There is absolutely nothing we can do to slow down the moments before a farewell.
Urgency usually holds hands with action, at least in my experience. You won’t find me pondering the merit of a deadline when it is fast approaching; you will find me in a frenzy to get done what needed doing.
And so it is today. Somewhere down in the place I call my soul, urgency and action are holding hands. I am looking ahead to June 24, an ending that looms like an ominous thundercloud on one of the distant mountains surrounding this beautiful city and what I feel is urgency.
What if the 18 school days left on the Seniors’ calendar is really all I have left with them? What if I never see them again? What if I never get the chance to hug the Micah boys again or make a Mother’s Day craft at the feeding centers or visit the orphanage in Valle? The urgency sets in and I feel the insistent squeeze on action’s hand.
The past week, quite unintentionally, I have realized the beautiful urgency of the questions,
“For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul?”
No encouragement is too cheesy and no compliment is too awkward, no question is too silly and no conversation is too strange; and eternity is always relevant. More than any words of wisdom (as that creeping clock trudges on toward my June 24 farewell), the action my urgency brings about is all about ETERNITY.
What do I say if I’m facing a great wave of “lasts” and “don’t knows” from people who have woven their way into my story?
I tell an old, old story about love. I tell a story about a perfect, powerful beginning broken by bitter disappointment and resolved by the only thing strong enough to redeem and restore: a sacrifice of greatest price. I tell a story of Creation, Fall, and Redemption, Restoration. I tell a story about lost sheep and celebrations and the greatest party that ever was.
This past week, I told this story five different ways to one student who, after 14 years, finally has ears to hear. God’s story – the Gospel story – finally started making sense and it was the only story I wanted to tell when I thought about leaving. God’s story has the power to change a person’s eternity. God’s story has the power to give hope and a future, to cast out fear, to give purpose and meaning, to bring joy and pleasure forever, and to throw the greatest party that ever was.
In my students, I see a desire to search out the most joy and pleasure. I see a search for meaning and worth and purpose and excitement. In all sorts of ways, I’ve tried to communicate where these desires will be satisfied – always and only in Christ alone. But now, with the days flying off the calendar like jet planes from a runway,
Because I care about these kids so much, the best thing (really the only thing) I can think to give them is an invitation to the greatest party that ever was.
I just want to give them Jesus.
more than ever, I’m feeling the urgency to