What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. (James 4:14)
When was the last time you thought of your life as a “vanishing mist,” as James described it in his epistle? If you are young, it’s likely the thought has never occurred to you. If you have passed age 50, your thinking may get “misty” often! That’s certainly true of me; as a young man, I gave the brevity of life no thought at all; today, as a much older man, I find myself pondering this sobering truth with increasing frequency.
When I look at pictures of our four children growing up, I am amazed at how quickly the time has been passing. I remember that many parents who were older than Kim and I would say things like, “They’ll grow up before you know it!” But who had time to consider an idea like that? We were busy raising four children! Well, I sure do consider it today, and I realize that the years are racing by and life on this earth is rapidly moving toward an end.
There are two things this truth should do for the Christian.
- It should challenge us. We are all dying at the rate of 60 minutes an hour, and so we should be busily engaged in doing all God has called us to do with all He has given us to do it with. Jesus cautioned us, “The night is coming when on one can work” (John 9:4), and that “night” could come upon us today . . . which should challenge you and me to get the most of every hour God has given to us.
- It should comfort us. Because life IS so brief, whatever storms winds we are facing and whatever waves of challenge are sweeping over us will soon pass away. Before we know it, we will be living on the other side of the grave, where there will be no more storm winds blowing, no more challenges crashing into us, no sorrow to burden us nor struggle confronting us. Here is a good way to look at it: whatever you are currently going through, you are going through it, and it will soon lead to your promised paradise in the new heavens and the new earth.
So the key to accepting the truth that your life truly is a vanishing mist is to live in the light of eternity. We should be challenged to make the most of every moment and comforted in knowing that those moments that try men’s souls will soon come to an end.
This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!