Life is short.
I have been reminded of this several time these past few weeks. As a pastor I get both the privilege and incredible joy of coming alongside families at their most intimate and raw moments. I have been in hospital rooms with family as a loved one breathed their last on this side of heaven. I have heard news of close friends passing away or facing significant, life-altering moments due to situations beyond human grasp. I have met with families grasping at how to handle some situation looming before them. These are the moments in life that cause us to step back and evaluate where we stand in relation to God and the world around us. Are you in such a place right now? What do we do with such moments? Personally, as I have been jolted through many such moments as of late, they have led me to realize once again, the shortness of life. The Bible reminds us that we are just a vapor in the wind, here today but gone tomorrow.
As I witness and carry these events in my heart, one cannot help but be effected by them and the wonderful, God-fearing people the Lord has placed in my path. These are the things we pastors carry. What are the things you carry in your heart and mind?
Before we venture off into some gloomy field of who knows where, there is a passage from scripture that has been roaming around in my head, which sheds some light into these dark moments of life. They are a few, but challenging, words from the Book of James:
Look here, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we are going to a certain town and will stay there a year. We will do business there and make a profit.” How do you know what your life will be like tomorrow? Your life is like the morning fog—it’s here a little while, then it’s gone. What you ought to say is, “If the Lord wants us to, we will live and do this or that.” (James 4:13-15)
Did you hear it? Do not miss the truly good news, life-changing news, that can occur in the midst of darkness. Our God knows, sees, and fully anticipates the things that fill our life. The Creator of the universe–the one who put the stars in the sky, who breathed life into all things, who separated land from water, who shaped the mountain ranges and sculpted the valleys–this is the same God who has His mighty and nurturing hand on your life. His message to us is rather simple, but yet, oh so profound! The message of the Bible can be summed up in the name of the Lord who made us, “Emmanuel”, which means “God with us.” This “IS” good news! It means that just as the God of the universe takes care of the birds of the sky He is also the Lord of our life.
At times God allows the challenging moments to stretch us and grow us in our trust and dependence of Him. Every moment in life is an opportunity to grow closer in our relationship to the Creator of the universe and to those He has placed in our path. I would encourage you to take a moment in the next few minutes to evaluate the blessings God has surrounded you with in your life. Maybe even respond to this blog and post a few of your blessings as a way to encourage others in their faith journey. I guaranty there are many, if only our eyes are open long enough to see them, and Him! Here are a few other things you might consider:
- Hug your kids (or if you don’t have kids, hug someone close to you)
- Take a deep breath and look around at the many blessings God’s blessed you with
- Spend some time with the people you love
- Spend a few moments using one of the Psalms as the basis for a time of prayer
- Most importantly, give thanks to God for all of the blessings just highlighted
At the end of the day, the time we spend on earth is but a momentary flash in the eye as compared to the everlasting life God is preparing for those who love Him. Our God personally knows the darkness that can surround our life: He faced a jeering crowd who taunted Him and spit in His face, He felt the agony of nails being ripped into His hands and feet, He sensed throbbing pains shoot throughout the muscles and bone of His body as He hung on a cross, He struggled near the end to breathe His final gasps of air, and His lifeless body was laid to rest in a stone-cold tomb. The story does not end there! He triumphantly rose back to life three days later from the grave to once and for all heal the broken relationship between the Creator and His created. All this Jesus, the Creator of all things, personally and intentionally did for you! Not because He had to, but out of a limitless love for you that is as deep as the ocean and as wide as the heavens. From within the cross and empty tomb rings a persistent invitation that calls us to our knees in thanks and praise, daily reviving us to the man and woman He intended us to be from the beginning of time. He is risen! He is risen indeed! Alleluia! Amen!
Just a vapor beneath the cross!