Tuesday, March 11, 2014

It Flowers and Fades....and poof, It's Gone!

Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away. ~ James 4:14

Recently we decided to have a family movie night.  Not much for movies as the vast majority are just a wealth of filth that feeds man's lust for pleasure and his infatuation with self.  Nonetheless, off we went into screen land to catch one we had seen 14 years ago.  We went and revisited Wilson and his pal on his castaway island.  I quickly recalled what was about to transpire and fell directly into watching the entire movie as if I was in Chuck Noland's shoes.  What if?

What if it was me?  You?  Am I ready for whatever turn my life takes?  Are you ready?  It could turn any way you know.

Our lives are indeed a vapor.  They are but a moment.  Some are even briefer than a moment. I've lived long enough to bury 90 year old grandmothers and been with friends as they bury 1 year old babies and 15 year old sons.  One of my most vivid memories as a teen was burying our friend Mark at the ripe old age of 18 or 19.

         Behold, You have made my days as handbreadths,
         And my lifetime as nothing in Your sight;
         Surely every man at his best is a mere breath. ~ Psalm 39:5

So back to Wilson, er Chuck.  Despite it being a fictional story I watched as a man obsessed with work made one monumental decision to board a plane and change his life and others lives forever.  Not even realizing that at that very moment 239 people were missing somewhere over the Gulf of Thailand. Could someone or many be clinging for their life?  Could 239 souls have just entered eternity and changed the course of life for thousands of family and friends?

One moment.  One choice.  One fateful trip across the ocean or just across the street.  I ask again, are you ready?  

         Man is like a mere breath;
         His days are like a passing shadow. ~ Psalm 144:4

My thoughts constantly went back to 1984/1985.  It's a blur yet crystal clear. I recall the news that Mark had wrapped his car around a tree along with a couple passengers.  Dead.  All of them.  Life cut short.  A decision to drive while intoxicated ended in horror.  I recall a sky blue day with beautiful cumulus clouds over Newport Beach CA.  I can vividly see the casket and all my young friends as we passed by Mark's casket one last time and dropped momento's in.  It was surreal.  Lives changed. Forever. While it was a grievous moment it's impact was only beginning.  Today I ask, why not me?  It could have been me!  Only by God's grace was it not.  Only by a kind and merciful Lord did I make it, did you make it.

My thoughts also went to a dear brother and the events that led to losing his son.  A move many miles away to embark on a ministry opportunity.  Only to find his young toddler face down in a small fish pond almost the day they moved into their new home.  Oh the grief, the sorrow, the doubts!  Yet God was even in these things because God causes all things to work together for good to those that love Him and are called according to His purpose. (Romans 8:28)  Yes, even tragedy.  Yet not so for those who have refused to hear His voice, to those that refuse to bow their knee to His sovereignty.

I remembered the call from my friend and former neighbor when he told me his 15 year old son was gone......in an instant!  I considered the days I would see our children "digging tunnels to China" and teaching us how to slaughter a chicken.  I saw his boyish face, his sweet smile. Gone.  Was he really gone? Sick and taken by cancer in just two short weeks and buried at 15?  I see my brothers as we each picked up a shovel in turn and covered that casket with a few shovelfuls before relinquishing it to another. 

                Our life is a vapor

Tomorrow may never come.  Tomorrow you may lose your spouse.  Tomorrow you may lose your child.  Tomorrow you may meet your God.  Are you ready?

When you get in your car each day do you realize you are sitting in a steel missile?  Do you consider how your driving might change the course of dozens if not hundreds of people?  Do you thank the Lord each time you put it in park safely at your destination?

In an instant......change.  Permanent. Forever.  Lasting.

So yet again I ask, are you ready?  How are you living?  Do you live in light of your own mortality?  Do I live in light that all I know could be gone in a moment?

                You turn man back into dust
         And say, “Return, O children of men.”
                For a thousand years in Your sight
         Are like yesterday when it passes by,
         Or as a watch in the night.
               You have swept them away like a flood, they fall asleep;
         In the morning they are like grass which sprouts anew.
               In the morning it flourishes and sprouts anew;
         Toward evening it fades and withers away. ~ Psalm 90:3–6

But the thoughts continued as I watched old Chuck fight to survive and go a little nuts talking to his only friend, Wilson.  I considered when I was building custom homes.  Faces of two men and their families flooded my mind.  One was a young man, in his late 30's.  One fateful step off a scaffolding led to his paraplegia.  It was somewhat tortuous pulling up to his home for 6 months, while we modified it to ADA standards, and seeing his kayak in the yard.  A kayak he and his 8 year old son would never use again. I envisioned the second man, his face weathered and beaten.  He was in his 50's with a teenage son and daughter along with his wife.  A terrible mishap that changed their lives.  Scaffolding collapsed on his job site and down he and his men went, others to their death, him to being a quadriplegic.  The hard, bitter pill of being dependent upon his young son for the simple things. The things most of us take for granted every day.

         As for the days of our life, they contain seventy years,
         Or if due to strength, eighty years,
         Yet their pride is but labor and sorrow;
         For soon it is gone and we fly away. ~ Psalm 90:10.

So whether a life change takes you into eternity or changes the course of your life, are you ready?  Are you living in light of your own frailty?  Your own mortality?  Are you dependent upon God, the Lord Jesus Christ for everything? Are you grateful for His care over you?  His grace?  Have you bowed your knee and confessed Jesus as Lord?  If you have not, will you?  Eternity hangs in the balance.

Because after all, our life is but a vapor.

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