Every now and then the Lord likes to remind me that I’m temporary. One day I will die and I may be remembered by a few people, but then they will die and I most likely will not be remembered. Many times I’m reminded of this at funerals (that’s one reason I like them). Sometimes a good reminder comes through sickness. I can also be reminded of this through something I read.
Yesterday, I was delivered the one-two punch on remembering my temporality. I was reading in the book of James and came upon this verse, “yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.” That’s a great reminder! I’m a mist. I could die tomorrow and vanish. It helps put what is important in life into perspective and I spent a lot of time praying about it.
Then the second punch was delivered. I found myself with some sort of stomach bug that kept me up all night and ultimately led to my dropping six pounds in 24 hours. I’ll spare you the bitter details. It left me feeling weak and puny. I had to stay away from my daughters. I was left with a body that felt like it just went twelve rounds with Rocky. I am temporary, frail, and weak.
Ultimately, I am sharing this with you because I think we need this reminder. We often treat ourselves as though we are the center of the universe and everything is revolving around us. However, that couldn’t be further from the truth. In the grand scheme of it all, our lives are very very short. Life can and will go on without us when we’re gone. Most, if not all, of the things we’ve done will eventually be forgotten. Depressed yet? This is actually great news for us. There is freedom in this.
The good news is that God who created all things invites us into actual purpose. He invites us to be a part of what He’s doing even though He doesn’t need us. His work is eternal. His work will last from this life into the next. He doesn’t need us and we aren’t necessary to His purposes, but He invites us in.
This means that you are free. You are free to love God with all of your heart and rejoice that the God of the universe doesn’t love you because He needs you, but because He likes you and delights in you. You are free to love others wildly and extravagantly because this is the kind of love that You have known and now desire to make known. You are free to stop taking yourself so seriously and to take serious things that truly matter and will last. You are free to take big risks to advance God’s purposes because you know that He will accomplish His purposes and the life you’re living for is the next one where you are no longer a mist, but enjoying eternal fellowship with your Savior.
Every now and then it’s good to get sick. Sickness is a reminder that not only are our bodies broken, but the entire world is. Sickness reminds us that one day our bodies won’t recover—that could be sooner or later. It reminds us that health is a gift and it’s a gift we should use, not to advance our own kingdoms which will disappear like a mist, but to live for God’s purposes and to tell other broken creatures that a Savior has come to fix the brokenness.
The Lord puts these reminders of the brevity of our lives before us every now and again to help us refocus. When Christ commanded that those who would follow Him take up their crosses and come after Him, He was giving a command to remember you’re mist. Mist doesn’t have disillusionment of self-grandeur. It comes, does it’s job for a short while, and then disappears. Christ came on purpose to save sinners so that they could have purpose to tell others of the only true purpose we can find in this life. This is such good news. This is where we find freedom.