Our mortal life is a gift and comes with no guarantees. We live with this understanding. Friends die young, sometimes. My first experience was as a ten-year-old when one of my friend’s accident shot and killed with his police officer father’s service gun. They were playing and took the gun without their father’s knowledge.
I lived most of my life being self-centered and thinking only of my wife and children and their needs. When I was fifty-one, my life expanded immeasurably. I began a new life as a teacher, the most rewarding thing I have done. My inward-looking life opened to include the lives of all of the high school students I mentored.
When I was confronted by the problems of my students, I realized that regardless of what I had lived through was preparing me to show empathy and to love my students beyond anything that I ever imaged. The lives of my students were given to me by God; these lives opened my eyes and heart to others and deepened my faith in God as the loving provider. I saw the face of God in my students. I also so the face of need and deprivation, perhaps the same need and desperation that Jesus worked against in his thirty-one years as a man.
Our spiritual life does come with guarantees. In the Bible, Timothy writes: “Take hold of the eternal life.” And Paul writes in Romans: “The gift of God is eternal life.” Faith in God ensures that our lives are eternal. God knows us before we are born and also knows us after we end this mortal existence. All this supports the idea that our life as we know it is enriched by those we meet (and vice-versa), and our eternal life is of God’s Love.