James 4:14 Life is a mist
For nine years I was blessed to have a job where I lived on an island for the summer months, and when your home is surrounded by water, it makes for many misty days on Mount Desert Island in Maine. On this particular day I remember driving down the Loop road in Acadia National Park and literally slamming my brakes to pull off road to watch this phenomena of rising mists in front of the mountain cliffs called the Precipice. As these mists slowly rose to the summit of the mountain, they quickly disappeared into the atmosphere. I immediately thought to myself, “That’s exactly what James wanted to illustrate to us,” when he was inspired by the Holy Spirit to pen verse 14 in Chapter 4. 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.
How many of us actually live our lives with this scripture in mind though? Aren’t we all guilty of thinking that we are going to live to a ripe old age and spend our years accomplishing the things that we have on our “bucket list?” When we are younger, some things we think about are going to college, beginning a career, getting married and raising a family. As we get older, our goals are usually to buy a nice home, a nice car, start a successful business, travel to favorite countries on vacation, and then perhaps retire to live a life of ease and comfort.
Far too often we live our lives as if this earth was our true home, instead of living as temporary sojourners passing through on the way to eternity. Maybe we are such fleshly creatures that we can’t possibly even imagine living that way?
I know that is how I lived before chronic illness consumed my world. I was always making my own plans, and often did not even take the time to ask God if it was His will for me. It’s not that I didn’t love Jesus, or care about what He desired, but when your body is in good health, you just sort of go about your own way, and do your own thing every day. Following is a list of a few of the ways God has taught me to live on earth with eternity as the main purpose for existing.
* I no longer feel the need to hold onto my possessions. In fact, my latest move was reduced to a carload instead of a moving truck. What is the point of keeping a bunch of things that are just going to burn anyway? My entire retirement savings is gone now due to my illness, so I know more than ever how quickly money can disappear. It sounds strange, but it frees you from financial worries when you are broke. People have been so gracious to me, which in turns releases God’s blessings into other lives!
* Illness has taught me to love others deeply, because I know I may not have tomorrow to show them love again on this earth. It also makes it much easier to forgive others for any pain or sadness they caused me. I must strive to be a forgiving person if I want to be forgiven by my Father in heaven.
* Life truly is a mist, and is far too short to carry heavy loads or baggage from my past life. I do not want to leave this world with regrets about anything from my time on Earth
The biggest lesson God has taught me during this trial called chronic illness, is to keep my eyes always on the sky, watching and waiting expectantly for the return of my precious Savior Jesus Christ! The sicker I become, the more I look forward to spending forever with Him!
- This devotional is dedicated to the memory of my friend and teacher Jim Wischer, and to his family and fellow servants who daily risk their lives in the service of others. Jim loved to illustrate this passage of scripture with an aerosol spray can when he was teaching from the Bible. See you soon brother, you are dearly missed. Well done, good and faithful servant!