There But For the Grace of God

Yesterday I found out that an old college friend of mine had passed away. It was quite a shock. I hadn't seen her in about 15 years, but my memories of her are vivid and joyful.

Kapra was funny and serious, entertaining and determined. She could make you laugh with her freakishly large mouth and fist routine--she could literally stick her entire fist in her mouth--and yet she would comfort you when you were down. She wasn't afraid to poke fun (at herself and others) and yet she was a devoted musician, dedicated to perfecting her French horn talents and skills.

Kapra chose a military life, and at the time of her death was a Staff Sergeant in the U.S. Army. She served several tours of duty in Afghanistan and other middle east locations, with an Army band unit. She continued as a music educator in the Army, merging her passion for music and for people.

As I mentioned, hearing about her untimely death was quite a shock. Not just because she was only 38 years old, but also because it was a vivid reminder that we simply don't know when our time on earth will be done. God gives each of us a gift--life. He doesn't dictate how we should live that life, but rather leaves it up to each of us.

Since I became a Christian, this idea of life truly being a gift from God has really struck me. Have I really been using my life to the fullest, in ways that will glorify Him? Pertinent to my current situation especially, have I wasted time worrying about things that are out of my control? Why do I find it so difficult to "give it up to God"?

Having grown up Catholic, I feel very much that I'm a baby when it comes to scripture studies. Fortunately, I'm the type of person who, when faced with something new, tries to "read up" on the subject. Jeremiah 29:11-14 has been in my heart as of late:

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you," declares the Lord, "and will bring you back from captivity. I will gather you from all the nations and places where I have banished you," declares the Lord, "and will bring you back to the place from which I carried you into exile."

It is a good reminder that God is in control, and we can rely on Him implicitly. He will take care of us so we can live to glorify Him, no matter how much time we have on earth.

Rest in peace, my dear friend Kapra. And may we all rest in Him.

In God.

En Theos.

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