Life is a vapor…

May 31, 2008

Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.”” ~ James 4: 13-15

Life is a vapor. It’s here, and then it’s gone… 

I wrote a post about this truth a few months back (click here to see it). In that post my emphasis was on acknowledging God’s sovereignty over everything; in this one my emphasis is on living each day as if it’s your last (because it might be). This is on my mind and heart because of two things that happened this week:

I read the preface to Wayne and Elliot Grudem’s Christian Beliefs: Twenty Basics Every Christian Should Know”. In it I read,

“We have dedicated this book to the memory of Rachael Grudem, who died instantly in a tragic car accident in St. Paul Minnesota, July 9, 2005. Rachael constantly radiated joy and faith in her Lord Jesus Christ and love for her husband of three months, Alexander Grudem, who is Wayne’s son and Elliot’s brother. In the midst of our family’s sadness, God has deepened our faith in the doctrines we discuss in this book, especially our assurance that God is good and wise, that Rachael is in Heaven rejoicing, and that we will someday be with her in God’s presence forever.” (p10)

The last part of that is encouraging and beautiful, the first part incredibly sobering. It’s particularly sobering for me because Rachael was only 9 days older than me, and because, Lord willing, I’ll be getting married in 3 weeks. Even after events such as those that lead to me writing my first post reflecting on this passage of Scripture, I just don’t typically think much about the fact that my life could already be over, or that I could leave my soon-to-be-spouse after only 3 months of marriage (if even that). I find it’s often difficult to keep the brevity of life in perspective – so freshly and clearly in perspective that it motivates me as it should, on an ongoing basis… Do I live as if today may be all I have? Will I be a husband who realizes that each day may be the last chance I have to be the best husband I can be? To be the most godly man I can be – in every fascet of life?

The other reason this truth is resonating with me today is because of an e-mail I received this morning. There was a link in it to this article in The Denver Post – Drew Laird, one of my college friends, drowned on Tuesday.

Again, this is incredibly sobering. Drew and I were the same age. His life was well lived – very well lived.  I’m left asking myself, “Am I living as well – as godly? If I were to die tonight I’d awake in glory (praise God!), but has my life been lived as much to the glory of God and the blessing of others as possible? Is my life all I’d desire it to be when the time comes for me to see my Savior?” I have to answer “no”. In a myriad of ways, it’s far from it… I’m less faithful in evangelism and prayer than I should be (and less faithful in these things than I used to be, which is hard to realize – frustrating!). I fail to honor my parents as God calls me to (I’m far too rarely in contact with them). And there’s more…

I want to live better! I want to look back and know I was as faithful in all God called me to as I could be, and that my life was all the blessing it could be to others…  I’ve spent some good time reflecting on things this week, and Heather and I spent some time talking about all this this morning. Of course, the right thing to do is not to beat myself up over sins and regressions and failures (to “cry over spilled milk”, so to say), but to gain the perspective and motivation and resolve I should, and to fall before the God of grace and ask Him to help me live worthy of His wonderful gospel (Philippians 1:27). By God’s grace, today has been a profitable day of such reflection, and of sweet, encouraging memories of my friend and brother… I hope to share with you the blessing his life was to me soon – I trust you too will be moved to praise God for his life and moved to live as he did.

I’ll probably write other posts related to this too – specifically the truth that faithfulness, not “flashiness”, is what God is after, and the truth that a more faithful, godly life is possible, by God’s grace, no matter what our lives look like currently… 

Please be in prayer for Drew’s wife, Natalie. She has one son and is pregnant with their second child. She loved her husband very, very much. Thank-you.

   “Teach us to number our days aright, 
      that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” ~ Psalm 90:12

 “Only one life, ’twill soon be past,
only what’s done for Christ will last.
And when I am dying, how happy I’ll be,
if the lamp of my life has been burned out for Thee.”

~ Donovan


One Response to “Life is a vapor…”

  1. Joe J said

    Hey Dono,

    Just wanted to let you know that you and Heather are in my prayers as you prepare to begin your life together.

    In Christ,

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