Imagine you are told you have just a day to live. What
thoughts would dominate your mind? Would they rewind
in a silent movie? A quick succession of all that you have
lived and then a fast-forward of dreams you had intended
to achieve in life?
In February 2007, Philip Yancey lay in a hospital following a nearfatal
car accident in Southern Colorado. He had been a thirteentime
gold medallion awardee from Christian publishers and sellers
for his best-selling books. But now, after seven hours in an Intensive
Care Unit, Yancey was told how critical his condition was. They
needed to fly him to Denver for a much needed treatment; a jet was
waiting to air-lift him. Yancey writes, “The doctor told me what no
patient wants to hear”. His chances of surviving the flight were bleak.
Amidst such intense conditions, with possibly just a few hours left
to live, he thanked God for the life he had lived until then, for the
beautiful marriage and family; and though he had no idea what the
after-life was like, he was content for the hope he had in Christ.
Gladly, Philip made it through the flight and survived the accident.
He was home the same evening.
Later in an interview, he testified to the thoughts that dominated his
mind lying on that bed. Nothing occupied him as much as the
questions, how does one spend the last hours of one’s life before
death, and how does one prepare for the next stage of life.
Frankly speaking, not all get such an unwelcome situation as staring
at death from such a close quarter; as close as a few hours. If we
faced such a situation in our life, I am sure our thoughts would be
very similar to Yancey’s. However, shouldn’t the perspective we get
when faced with the immediacy of death be the perspective we live
with every day?
It is fearful to know the time and hour of our death, but even more
painful is the uncertainty of death that hangs over each of us at any
We live daily in possible death situations. Isn’t every driver a
potential killer, given just a second’s negligence and one mistaken
wrong turn? Each mode of transportation we take daily, an impending heavy
metal assassin? Imagine all the possible ways one could die in any given 24-
In the span between the poles of birth and death, in the period between ‘the
womb and the tomb’, God embedded a poignant opportunity for humans to know
the purpose of one’s life.
Life is but a wishful thinking for those preoccupied with musings of selfindulgence.
We go on in life as if pre-programmed robots, acting on our instincts
that account for behaviour no better than that of animals; mostly, occupied with
the ‘me and mine’ and ‘here and now’. All death memorials unabashedly mention
the period between birth and death with a dash [-], for example, Abraham Lincoln,
1809 [-] 1865. Little do we realise that it is the dash between the years that
describes the life a person lives. While we humans count the years between
birth and death, God is concerned with the period between. For humans it is but
a dash [-], but to God it is the full measure of His purpose in one’s life.
Do yourself a favour and answer yourself sincerely
Answer yourself, ‘Who Exactly Needs You Around?’ Do not misunderstand the
question. I am not downplaying the value of family and friends. I am boiling
down the essence of our value and the life we live here on this earth. My question
is, ‘Who needs us and how desperately?’ Whose life will come to an end when
our life comes to a sudden end?
Until a few centuries ago, there was an evil practice in India. When the husband
died, the widow was forcefully thrown to be burnt alive in the same pyre along
with her dead husband even if they have been married for a single day. The same
applied even if the mother had infant children that needed her. Thus a wife’s life
was in her husband’s being alive. This practice called Sathi was abolished by
the Christian missionary, William Carey. Today, life goes on for a wife even if
her husband dies the very next day of their marriage. The widow lives on and
could even marry again.
If we die today, consider who ceases to live? Even if a spouse dies soon after
marriage, the other spouse’s life continues even though pain is inevitable. Haven’t
babies lived on even though both parents died the same day of the births? Yes,
there would be mourning, but after certain days, the memory of the dead fades,
and life goes on, of course, with a few inescapable adjustments. And in truth, in
certain deaths, there is sometimes relief with the grief for the bereaved. Bizarre as
it may sound, this is true not just in the case of the old, ailing and terminally ill,
but in many families where the death of a certain individual is more welcomed and
The question, ‘Why Are You’, seems incomplete, but it is not unless you do
not know the answer to it. While we are concerned with the length of years,
God looks intently at the period between our entry and exit in the world. We
calculate years, but God counts the days; each day as precious as a life itself. As
all wise investors demand returns for their investment, God, who invested life,
desires the same. On the contrary, when a life does not produce in equal
proportion to the investment, consequences occur.
God’s Investment calls for our Multiplication.
In answering the question, ‘Why are you’, let us read what king David wrote,
“This is the day which the LORD hath made...” The word ‘made’ in Hebrew is
awsaw, meaning ‘appoint’, ‘accomplish’. This gives us the understanding that
each day is a day appointed by God for accomplishing ‘something specific’.
When the appointed purpose is accomplished, the result is, “...we will rejoice
and be glad in it”. This is the ‘WHY’ of who you and I are. This is where the
multiplication of His investment in life occurs, which simply means when we
meet that specific appointment, daily, each day. This is the sole purpose of
‘Why Am I ’, or ‘Why are you?’
We all know our DNA, finger prints and even our irises do not match any other
human being’s, past, present or future. That is the unique identity God gave us,
treating us as super special, where each person comes with a uniquely equipped
investment for an assignment to be fulfilled while on earth.
Why did God ask Adam a question that He already knew the answer to? The
same question must be heard in our lives when we are not where we are supposed
to be. Adam altered his designed position and place. Often we are involved or
indulging in the wrong pursuit in wrong places. It is not that God does not know
or cannot locate us, but He wants us to speak up and acknowledge where we are.
Nothing in our homes has come in by chance. Each piece of furniture, cutlery and
gadget has been brought in, carefully chosen. Suppose my refrigerator says it
wants to be a bookshelf instead of a refrigerator and my car says it would rather
serve me as a couch. How would I react? Ridiculous! If a hired manager tells his
boss that he will now serve as the president of the company, the boss will either
reprimand the employee or replace him. Analogise these outlandish pictures with
our lives. How can we believe we have been brought into this world by a super
intelligent God for no other reason than to live for our own purposes? Can we
dare say that God has no qualms with how and where we live our lives?
The idea that nobody needs me is a daunting thought, but not as much as the
assurance that God has decided He wants me, and wants me no matter the cost!
We are His. If He paid with His own blood for our lives, He would go to any
measure to have us back. This is the consolation that makes my life worth living,
no matter who needs me or not. This, in essence, is the purpose of our life. The
fact that I see a sun rise every day is a sufficient truth to know God has a purpose
in my life and He has not given me up.
Boredom rules the life that lacks purpose. In a life that lacks purpose, the
adventure ends even before it begins. The earlier we learn why we were made,
the earlier we can embark on our life’s mission. The longer we delay to get
serious with this pivotal issue, the longer we squander aimlessly, failing, and
then our lives will be nothing but a bundle wrapped up in boredom. We cannot
create purpose; we have to discover it. When we try creating it without the
labour of discovering, we find futility. This is what King David meant in Psalm
90, “Teach us to number our days...” It is God who reveals our purpose to us. As
the lyrics from the song ‘Circle of Life’,
Life at the end has either results or consequences. And each passing day will
show how we live our lives, and what results or consequences those lives have
So the real question in your life is not who needs you, but who do you need in
your life? There is only one lasting answer: God.
A mother has a natural bond with a child but a father has to build one.