Close Calls: The Fragile Life

Two weekends ago, we went camping at Johnson Shut-ins, and while we were playing on the rocks and waterfalls, an 18-year-old girl fell to her death. Rescue paramedics couldn’t save her. And I felt like crying all afternoon. Today, at the lake, keeping an eye on our precious swimmers, my friend shared how a friend’s 4-year-old child drowned in a pool while vacationing. Such horror. Images of my youngest child under the water, unable to come up for air, haunt me. We’ve had a few close calls, and I am reminded that life can be over just. like. that.

A few days ago I was tending to our family garden, weeding and watering, and I noticed two things. The new shoots of plant life–the kind that actually produce fruit for the body–were easily destroyed. And yet, the weeds that would otherwise choke out the food, stubbornly clung to the soil, refusing to budge.

Beauty is a fragile gift. - Ovid

Pulling out the hose, I expelled the hot water to get to the cold. A colorful butterfly waited with me, tentatively fluttering here and there across the concrete to get at drops of falling water. How the hot concrete didn’t burn his delicate feet, I didn’t get. On a side note, did you know that butterflies taste with their feet? The average life span of a butterfly is only one month. Contrast that life duration to the average human span and you get about 1/1000th. But compare 80-90 years to eternity and we see how brief our life is as well.

Scripture says that our lives are but a vapor, a flower (here today and gone tomorrow), and yet, we remain somehow deeply precious to our Creator.

Why does it seem that the most beautiful things in this life are the most fragile?

Babies, flowers, butterflies, cherries on a tree, eyes, ears, hearts, hopes. All so sacredly shatterable. The delightful delicate.

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As I watched the butterfly sip water drops, I realized something. Nothing in Heaven will be fragile because fragility necessitates faltering and failing. We won’t be fragile because we can’t get hurt. Relationships won’t be fragile because love will be perfect and strong. And the bonds between us will no longer flutter as gossamer but as steel cable, held fast by the Perfect One who binds all hearts and minds in peaceful harmony. No more misunderstandings, no more disappointments, no more dashed hopes or painful bodies or broken hearts. All will be whole and strong and glorious.

For the Christians, all those partial, broken and fleeting perfections which he glimpses in the world around him, which wither in his grasp and he snatches away from him even while the wither, are found again, perfect, complete and lasting in the absolute beauty of God.

”To be in resurrected bodies on a resurrected Earth in resurrected friendships, enjoying a resurrected culture with the resurrected Jesus—now that will be the ultimate party! Everybody will be who God made them to be—and none of us will ever suffer or die again.”
― Randy Alcorn, Heaven

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