Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Is Life "A Puff of Smoke" That "Disappears"?

"Come now, you who say, 'Today or tomorrow we shall go into such and such a town, spend a year there doing business, and make a profit'— you have no idea what your life will be like tomorrow. You are a puff of smoke that appears briefly and then disappears. Instead you should say, 'If the Lord wills it, we shall live to do this or that.' But now you are boasting in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil" (James 4:13-16).

Isn't this so true? We live as if we were masters of space and time. We assume we can dominate reality, when the truth is that every moment of every day is a gift from the One who creates and sustains us and who loves us. We are given reason and freedom, and our lives are fruitful when our decisions and plans adhere to and cooperate with the wisdom and mercy of God.

If we trust in ourselves alone, and what we can control by our own power, time will swallow us up and we will "vanish." Even in the course of this life we can see the "smoke" of our plans and projects and hopes "disappearing," especially as we get older. So we wander through our brief lives in arrogance, anxiety, distraction, desperation, mendacity, and violence.

Why do we live this way? It brings nothing but illusion and failure.

But if we entrust ourselves to the One who transcends time, who "gives us time"—and the One who has come into time and redeemed time—then our little fragile wisp of life has meaning. Every moment has meaning, every hope will be realized in its ultimate truth. Nothing will be lost.