This past week has been a devastating one for the Tampa and Plant High School community. A senior, Amanda Pierce tragically died in a car accident on her way to pick up her sister in Tallahassee. While I did not have the honor of knowing Amanda, many of my students did. Sadly, this is not the first time tragedy has struck our young community. Ask any student and they can tell you the tragedies that have transpired over the years.
In my conversations with teenagers this week, a theme has been echoing in my mind: There is only one guarantee in this life. We ourselves aren't promised tomorrow. Our loved ones aren't promised tomorrow. We aren't promised any easy life, or success, or popularity, or an easy road in life. The only guarantee we have is Jesus Christ. John 16:33 reminds us of what Jesus said to his disciples as they struggled to imagine what life would be like after Jesus died - how would they carry on without standing next to their best friend? "I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world."
This isn't the first time something tragic and inexplicable has happened, and unfortunately it isn't the last. We live in a broken world where car accidents, cancer, broken relationships, divorce, tragedy, and death exist. And Jesus warns us that life in this broken world won't be easy, and the only guarantee and the only hope we have is in Him. He has conquered death. He has conquered this broken world. The only guarantee is our relationship with Jesus Christ. Everything can change in an instant, but that never will.
And so to me, the logical question is: What are you living for? Why live for something that we aren't promised tomorrow? Want to know how to figure out what you're living for? Look at how you spend your time.
How are you pursuing Jesus? In what ways are you putting yourself in front of God's truth and God's grace? Where do you need to go to hear this truth? What needs to look different so that you can allow God to make you into a new person?
The time is now, my friends.
My thoughts and prayers are with all of those who are broken during this tragic time. May we confidently and boldly claim the love and life that Jesus is offering. In him, we have peace.