On Monday morning, I got on the internet to do my daily check-up of email, Facebook, and politics and ran across a story that has been on my mind this whole week. A girl named Brianna Becker, who was in her senior year at UT, was jogging on Friday night near campus when a car pulling out of a parking garage hit her. She was transported to a nearby hospital where she was later pronounced dead. It is always sad for me to read about these stories, but it does not ever leave a terribly lasting effect because I do not know any of these people personally. In this case however, I knew Brianna. We weren’t great friends or anything. In fact, I don’t think we really ever had a conversation outside of Facebook. But she was in one of my classes last year and we were both members of the Young Conservatives of Texas student organization. And I can recall the last time I saw her just this past week.
I remember thinking highly of her. She seemed very intelligent, ambitious, and well-read in class (in fact she was supposed to take the LSAT on Saturday – the day after her death) and she was always very publicly committed to political events such as pro-life gatherings and campus debates. Above all though, I was extremely impressed by how outspoken she was about her Christian faith. My relationship with Brianna was held within the boundaries of Facebook, but her status updates were often verses from Scripture. She participated in prayer rallies across Austin and always had a smile on her face. And the reaction to her death from people has been astounding. If you were around her, you knew her because of how bright she always seemed to be.
This event has had me thinking a lot lately. I never spent much time around Brianna in person, but I still feel like I knew her in the most important ways and my heart is saddened over her death. What an impression she left upon me. In the short time she spent with us, she wore her heart on her sleeve in ways I can’t even dream to at the moment. But there it is – my thought. What if I died tonight? What if you died tonight? How would your friends think of you? How would they remember you? How would the people you barely know think of you? Of me? Would they remember me for my clothing? For my looks? For my passion for music? Or would they remember me for my pursuit of the Lord and my desire to share Him with others?
Okay, so maybe it is more than one thought, but it is such a real consideration because that is how I remember Brianna. My life can become so consumed with myself that I forget my purpose in life is to serve and love others. It is so easy for me to brush off time in the Word in order to sleep longer and in doing so I miss a potentially life-changing opportunity to press into the Lord. How often do we do this as a community of believers? I would say the majority of us struggle with this. And I think I can identify our problem. To put it simply, I think that we are unafraid of death. We believe that we are going to live good, long, comfortable lives and therefore there is no reason to have a spiritual urgency. We live in a culture that is all about comfort and feeling good about yourself. Why work for something today when you can push it aside until tomorrow? But then a twenty-one year old girl who devoted her life to the purpose of Christ is killed while jogging. She wasn’t being persecuted or publicly oppressed. She was JOGGING. Yet we are so caught up in planning for tomorrow that we have forgotten that we still need to act today. You don’t have to be in the midst of persecution for your time to come to an end. And it doesn’t matter how good or kind or sweet you are as a human being – when it is your time that’s it.
Please do not misunderstand me here. I am not trying to sound morose and I am not trying to depress you. I am trying to encourage the idea of spiritual urgency. You are not invincible and neither am I. This life is short and it keeps getting shorter with every breath you breathe. The hope that we have is that God has a purpose for our lives, but our time is finite. Rest in this:
Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit”— yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.” As it is, you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil.
Like it or not, you are arrogant. I am arrogant. Oh, we are so arrogant. Life is not about tomorrow, but today. Your efforts may earn you a reputation, respect, and a full bank account, but what does that matter in the end? It will rot and decay just like every other thing in this world. I will be the first to confess how difficult it is to keep my mind off of the pursuits of this world and the works of my hands, but the time is now and your life is nothing but a mist. Press into the Lord. Chase Him. Race madly after Him. Don’t put it off until tomorrow because tomorrow is never guaranteed and you may not get the chance.
Let your relationship with Christ shine the way Brianna’s did. You may be the only Bible someone ever reads.
The Austin American-Statesman wrote an article about Brianna’s death. You can view it by clicking here. Please be in prayer for her loved ones who are working through this loss.