"A promising 17-year-old model died of asthma, a medical examiner ruled yesterday. Krissy Taylor was found unconscious by her sister, supermodel Niki Taylor, at the family home in suburban Pembroke Pines on July 2. Dr. Joshua Perper, Broward County's chief medical examiner, said yesterday that her undiagnosed asthma brought on cardiac arrhythmia, a rapid irregular heartbeat." (1)
"Three teen-age girls were killed when a train struck their car at an unmarked railroad crossing, authorities in Kansas said. The car was struck Friday night at a crossing near Hutchinson, Kansas, about 40 miles northwest of Wichita, said Reno County sheriff's Deputy Bill Kellogg. 'I think they pulled across the tracks in front of the train,' he said. The freight train was traveling between 40 and 45 mph. No one on the train was injured and it did not derail." (2)
"Like many teenage boys, Kevin Farrell was drawn to the thrill of risky adventures. He liked to push himself to the brink of danger - doing flips on his bicycle, skiing and snowboarding down the steepest slopes and, more recently, cruising on a motorcycle without a helmet. 'I always described him as a child who lived on the edge,' said his mother, Jeanne. 'But any time he did anything, he always had the skills to do it.' But the 16-year-old Levittown youth took one last ride Thursday night, and he was killed after (his) motorcycle was struck by a volunteer fireman on his way to a fire. Police said the teenager was driving with 'inoperative' headlights and was not wearing a helmet, both of which are illegal."(3)
We all think that we have so much time, don’t we? We casually say things like, “I’ll see you later” or “I’ll talk to you tomorrow” or “I’ll be back soon” as if it was a certainty that those things will happen. We study and work and plan with the expectation of many good years of life ahead. We consider colleges and pursue careers that we believe will provide us with a “future.” We fall in love and marry and look forward to many happy years together with that person we’ve fallen in love with.
Yet how many of us stop and consider this: how much time do we really have? Have you ever seriously considered the possibility that you may not live past next week or next month or next year? That’s a disturbing thought, isn’t it? How many of us get up in the morning and consider the very real possibility that we could be in the presence of God before the day is over?
The truth is that life can pass very quickly, as illustrated by these Psalms…
“Show me, O LORD, my life’s end and the number of my days; let me know how fleeting is my life… Man is like a breath; his days are like a fleeting shadow” (Psalm 39:4, 144:4 NIV).
The fact is that none of us knows how long our life will last here on Earth. Sadly, The Doctor’s High School yearbook contains the names of seven classmates who should have graduated with him but didn’t because their lives ended prematurely due to accident or illness. You see, while we might have the expectation of long life, there are no guarantees. This reality is touched on in the New Testament book of James where we read…
“…you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away” (James 4:14 NKJV).
So what’s the point? Well, it’s summed up in a little story that Jesus once told:
“…A rich man had a fertile farm that produced fine crops. In fact, his barns were full to overflowing– he couldn’t get everything in.
He thought about his problem, and finally exclaimed, ‘I know– I’ll tear down my barns and build bigger ones! Then I’ll have room enough. And I’ll sit back and say to myself, “‘Friend, you have enough stored away for years to come. Now take it easy! Wine, women, and song for you!'”
But God said to him, ‘Fool! Tonight you die. Then who will get it all?’ Yes, every man is a fool who gets rich on earth but not in heaven” (Luke 12:16-21).
This man in Jesus’ story certainly did not expect to die. On the contrary, he was looking forward to many years of leisure and prosperity. Because of this, he was not ready when his life ended unexpectedly. Unfortunately, this man is also very similar to those people who know that they need to get right with God but want to wait until they get older so they can “enjoy life” first. To those people, the Bible says…
“I tell you, now is the time of God’s favor, now is the day of salvation” (2 Corinthians 6:2 NIV emphasis added).
But to those who act on their need for salvation by accepting Christ, Jesus makes this promise…
“Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life” (John 5:24 NKJV).
It has been said that the key to eternity is not to be ready when, but to be ready whenever– and the way to be ready “whenever” is to make sure your sins have already been covered by Jesus’ sacrifice on your behalf. The Doctor thinks that’s a pretty good prescription.
(1) Asthma Killed Teen Model Newsday 7/26/95
(2) 3 Kansas Teens Killed Newsday 2/16/92
(3) Teen Killed In Motorbike Crash Newsday 08/3/96