Jesus is Permanent and Life is Temporary

For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ;

Philippians [3:20]

On September 10th at three in the morning, a man was awakened by a loud crash of glass outside his home. When he looked out his window he saw two men breaking into his car. He ran outside with his gun and confronted the two men. A gunfight ensued, and the man retreated to his house. He called the police, who arrived quickly.

After the police arrived on the scene, the two men initially agreed to surrender. The sheriff’s relaxed just for a moment. Then with a very quick movement, one of the men pulled out his gun and shot Deputy Sheriff Ryan Hendrix in the face. Later he died at the hospital.

Deputy Hendrix was a father of two and recently had become engaged. He had served as a sheriff in Hendersonville County, North Carolina for eight years. He was also a former Marine. Those who knew him described Ryan as a humble Christian. A well-known and liked member of his community. His funeral procession was long and backed up traffic for hours in Hendersonville county.

At three AM on September 10th, 2020, the temporary nature of this world became real. For the man in the house, for the two young children now without a father, for a young woman who lost her fiancé and Deputy Hendrix’s parents, everything changed in an instant. They all had gone to bed normally and arose to the abnormal.

Sure they all knew that being a law enforcement officer is a very dangerous job. I am sure they prayed frequently for Deputy Hendrix’s safety. And it is ironic that Deputy Hendrix served to help his community, only to be killed in service. Unfortunately, this is the ever-present risk of being in law enforcement. Dealing with criminals is a dangerous job.

This sad event is also a reflection of the very temporary nature of our own existence. We go along many moments and days with perceived normalcy. Only to be suddenly disrupted in a moment. Years may pass between these moments, but they will always exist. Moments when everything goes dark and the future is no longer certain.

One of my favorite quotes from Billy Graham is; My home is in heaven; I am just passing through this world. When I first heard this quote, I pondered it for days. Thinking through every aspect of why Graham said this now-famous quote. Concluding Graham’s perspective was so very true. We are on a journey back to our permanent home and life can be very temporary.  Our life here is unknown and temporary, which in itself creates a sense of urgency to our connecting with Jesus. For none of us do not know the day when life will change.

An urgency to never let our guard down. Each moment is precious as we are passing through to heaven. An urgency to intimately connect with our Lord and savior. An urgency to correct our failures and fix our wrongs. An urgency to be a beacon of love and hope for others. For we all exist for each other when we accept Jesus.

Unfortunately, these moments will exist, as did for Deputy Ryan Hendrix and his family. The devasting consequence of the reality of this very temporary existence. These are the moments when we can question the value of God or does God even exists. They can and have pushed many of us further away from God.

But there is ultimately no other place to turn for relief but Jesus. Grief can send us down many roads, not all leading to Jesus. Yet Jesus will still be there when it is our time to arrive or in the most difficult of circumstances.

As my own father was dying, I prayed, not for my father’s recovery, but that he would be safe on this final lap in his life. Many times, through tears it was my only desire. I asked only two things, that he pass safely over his personal River Jordan and that I would know he was safe. The answer to him being safe came the following day after died, through a songbird who sat next to me, singing it’s a sweet song.

Jesus is the permanent aspect of our lives. When we fully release ourselves to Jesus’s compelling request for us to be connected, Jesus becomes our never-ending companion on our journey home. A journey that is inevitable.

While our lives here are temporary, they are not an illusion. Life is a great blessing given to us. A blessing to be cherished. There are many things to be discovered in this life and many people to help. There are birds in the sky and the sweet smells of life. And many moments to cause our souls to rejoice.

I grieve for Ryan Hendrix’s community of friends, family, fiancé, and children who have been stung by the temporary nature of our lives. Their loss is unmeasurable. It is a harsh reminder of the urgency of having our souls ready for the inevitable. Their souls will journey on. We can and should pray that their grief turns into memories of the time Ryan spent with them.

Jesus is real and permanent. He knows our journey home can sometimes be difficult. Jesus will always be there in our every step, especially in the most difficult of times.

Blessings, until next time,
Bruce L. Hartman

Photo by Zoltan Tasi on Unsplash