Make moments in the middle matter

In the early ‘90s, the band Live released a song entitled “Lightning Crashes.”

The song paints a very interesting and emotional picture for the listener. Throughout the song, the artist paints a contrasting picture of two major life experiences. At one moment, he sings of the potential and hope present at the birth of a new baby. The next, he turns his attention to the loss and finality felt at the death of an old mother.

This past weekend, I experienced this song through a series of text messages.

The first message came first thing in the morning from my colleague and good friend, Pastor Mike Lyon. His message informed me that his daughter had given birth to his first grandson in the early hours of Sunday morning. Both baby and mother were doing well, and he and his family were going to make their way to the hospital to see them.

There are few things in life that hold as much excitement as the birth of a new baby. Though I did not join him at the hospital, I shared his joy, and I celebrated with him.

The final message came at the end of the day from another friend and member of my church. Her message informed me that her husband had passed away mere moments before. Following a six-month battle with cancer, his fight was over, and his pain was gone. The remaining family was processing the events of the day but were doing OK.

There are few things that hold as much heartache as the death of a loved one. Though I did not join her at her home, I shared in her sorrow, and I mourned with her.

The contrast of these two moments is very stark. Once again, one is filled with hope and potential, the other with sorrow and finality. It is easy to appreciate the gravity of these extremes. Birth and death are moments that remind us to make the most of the moments in the middle. It is in the middle that we experience the wonder of living, loving and becoming.

None of this takes place in a vacuum. In one way or another, for better or worse, our life experiences are shared. Our actions and interactions have the potential to impact the experiences and outcomes of the lives of those around us.

That’s part of what I love about the stories of Jesus in the Bible. Christianity is often understood largely through the lens of his birth (Christmas) and his death (Easter). And while these are amazing examples of God’s love for us, they aren’t easily replicated, and they fail to recognize the influence and impact of the life Jesus lived.

Few, if any, historical figures have demonstrated the depth of understanding concerning the potential impact of their life on the lives of others as Jesus. He fed the hungry. He cared for the sick. He was a friend to the friendless. He advocated for justice for the oppressed. Jesus gave his life for the betterment of others, not just through his death, but through the moments in the middle.

I’m excited for my friend about the birth of his grandson. I have no doubt that he will invest himself in seeing this new child become all God has created him to be. And hopefully, through his influence, this baby will understand and accept God’s love for him.

Because while I mourn the loss with my other friend, we can take comfort in knowing that this isn’t the end. You see, through the example and influence of others in the moments of his life, he came to understand and accept God’s love for him.

Death is not the final stop on the journey of life. It is simply a transition to new moments hereafter. Still, it serves as a great reminder for us to make our moments in the middle matter.