Living in a constant state of readiness
By Tim Hall
SHE WAS A Christian woman with whom I had been acquainted for many years. In recent months her husband battled some serious ailments. In that time, she developed some conditions of her own. It seemed she was doing better. But her husband woke up one morning, and she did not. She was 81 years old.
He was a distant relative, a young man I had never met. His great-grandfather was my grandmother's brother. He was a husband and the father of two young children. The fact that he worked inside a coal mine suggests that he was in good health. But on the last day of 2006 he suffered a heart attack and died. He was 23 years old.
These two sketches illustrate a principle we have come to know all too well: life is fragile. Though it may seem we are in the prime of life, enjoying excellent physical health, conditions can change with blinding speed.
An undetected illness surfaces, and carries a poor prognosis. An oncoming car fails to negotiate a curve and veers into our lane. A freak accident occurs on the job. Just when we thought life was going smoothly, the end comes.
James did not use the word “fragile” in describing the temporal nature of life, but his image carries the same idea. He wrote:
“Come now, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, spend a year there, buy and sell, and make a profit’; whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour that appears for a little time and then vanishes away.” (James 4:13-14, NKJV).
“A little time” may mean 90 years, but it may not. In view of eternity, any number of years begins to look puny. Even if we lived to be 500, it would be “a little time”, and then we would vanish away.
The lesson to be learned was not forgotten by the inspired writer: “Instead you ought to say, ‘If the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that’” (James 4:15).
His point: We need to live in view of God’s will. And God’s will is that we be reconciled to Him and live according to His will – every day.
God warns us that our souls are enveloped in fragile containers. Before they break and spill our spirits into eternity, let us make sure we are ready.
Let us live in a constant state of readiness. And if we vanish away today or 20 years from now, we will welcome the appointment, knowing we are heading home! – KneEmail.
Tim Hall contributes to KneEmail, a Christian resource organisation.