Milestones

This cannot be happening to me already. Ten days ago I went to a university graduation and watched our son, Caleb, receive a Master’s degree. In five more days, I’ll go to a different campus and watch Hannah receive a Bachelor’s degree. Meanwhile, I’m celebrating thirty years of marriage to an incredible, faithful and funny guy that I recently met while a student at FHU!…and that’s really how it seems. All of the dating, marriage, birthing, childrearing, moving around the southeast, traveling around the world, speaking, writing, and just living have been freeze-dried and condensed into a few short hit-and-run years and I have no clue where they have gone. I am going to find pieces of them one day in my family video collection and reminisce nostalgically if I ever have the time. My daughter, (who was born a few days ago) has fast-forwarded her life right before my eyes and will be walking, next Saturday, across the same stage where I walked to get my bachelor’s degree. She is finishing up her job as a Resident Assistant, just like I did. She has lots of the same professors as I and she walked the same halls. In fact, she walked some of the same halls as her grandmother and her great grandfather. And, in the grand scheme of the passage of time, she is just barely behind me in her travels across this planet and on to eternity. Our lives really are just little vapors that appear for a brief moment and then pass away, as the Holy Spirit phrased it through James.

The Spirit also said that because we know life’s brevity we ought to always live by the “if-the- Lord-wills” clause. All of the going, buying, selling and getting gain is contingent. It will one day come to an abrupt end. Journeys will be halted. Purchases will be left at the counter. Transactions will be incomplete. Checks in the mail will never reach their destinations. Life at it’s lengthiest is relatively brief. Briefer still will be many lives that are interrupted by the sound of a mighty trumpet and the unmistakable voice of the archangel. One day I really will look up and see a form descending in those billowy clouds that settle on the mountains around my house. The only question is whether I will see Jesus as an amazing and welcomed interruption from life or awaken to see Him from the sleep of the grave. But I will see Him and then I will feel my body, which seems more and more bound by gravity as the years pass, strangely begin to defy it and rise to meet my Savior. All of this is already scheduled in the mind of God. I don’t know exactly when, but I’m pretty sure, it will all transpire at a future date that will seem like just next week, given the rapidity with which my life elapses and the amazing fact that over half my vapor has likely vanished already (I AM fifty years old!).

The point is this: Every milestone should shout to me to live my life in readiness. Every diploma, every birthday, every contract, every anniversary, every deed, every birth certificate and every memorial service should sharpen my resolve to find Him in every ordinary day; to study the only letter I have from Him—the Holy Bible–, to communicate more from my house to Heaven—the permanent home of life–, to latch on to every golden chance to influence a loved one to live prepared–for the ends of these activities make up the tangible condensation-the only thing that will one day be left–of the vapor that is life.

Sometimes I want to trap the vapor. I just want to put a lid on my life and stop the escape of precious days because I am so incredibly blessed. I love my life. But then I think about it and I understand that the only reason I am so happy living here is because I have never seen heaven.

But very soon…

Go to now you who say, “Today or tomorrow, we will go into such a city and spend a year, engage in business and make a profit,” for you really don’t know what your life will be like tomorrow.

Life is just a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away.

But instead, you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we’ll live and do this or that.”

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