Life is like the Morning Fog

Scripture says, “The plans of man are many, but his steps are ordered by the Lord”. We are a people who are constantly making plans. We plan in good faith, as if we have some certainty about the future. We discuss details and made plans, yet none of us know for sure what tomorrow holds.

We presume upon that which belongs to God. We are not in control of tomorrow. We only have right now, today, without any assurance of another sunrise. We are so sure of tomorrow that we begin early to teach our young folks to plan for things they only hope they will see. There is nothing wrong with planning; as a matter of fact it is a necessity. I believe in long-range strategic planning, but at the same time we must remember only God truly knows tomorrow.

There once was a man named Herb, who proudly showed his wife some very special lures he had just purchased. These very special lures were going to help him to catch big fish in a Canadian province. He had a brochure of where he was going and took special care to describe how the trip was the fulfillment of a lifelong dream to fish for Musky in Canada. The very next day, Herb had been found dead after working in a neighbor’s woodshed.

We have all heard those type stories; the seemingly healthy 55-year-old man retires early to enjoy is hobby, then dies unexpectedly of a heart attack, or the victim of a freak accident, or the disease that comes out of no where who reek havoc on someone’s life. Based on our life experiences, we all know we have no guarantee of tomorrow. We might live in denial of that fact, but we all know it to be true.            

Life is very uncertain. There are no guarantees. Life is just a vapor; here one minute and gone the next.  Scripture says, “Look here, you people who say, “Today or tomorrow we are going to a certain town and will stay there a year. We will do business there and make a profit. How do you know what will happen tomorrow? For your life is like the morning fog; it’s here a little while, and then it’s gone. What you ought to say is, “If the Lord wants us to, we will live and do this or that. Otherwise you will be boasting about your own plans, and all such boasting is evil.” (James 4:13-16)

I would encourage you to resolve the unresolved or tying up any loose ends while you can. “I’m fixin’ to” or “I’m about to” never got anything accomplished in the history of mankind. Easy thing or hard thing, bad thing or good thing, relationship thing or health thing, financial thing or spiritual thing; resolve it or start resolving it today.       

Is there something you need to say to someone or something you need to do?  Is there a habit you need to start or stop?  Do it today, because just with Herb, or the stories of people you know, we have no guarantee of tomorrow. 

“Lord, If You Had Been There…”

“Lord, if you had been here…” These are the words of Mary and Martha at the death of their brother Lazarus in John 11. There, at that moment in time, when death was cruel and vile and heartless, they stood before what seemed an undefeatable valley of darkness. They wrestled with grief, and the grief was unbearable and unbeatable because grief can never be beaten, only experienced.

And so when Jesus came to them, they said it, “Lord, if…” It is the perfectly human response of a heart that is broken because hopes have been dashed and their world shattered. Someone they loved has been taken away. Life as they knew it was now different. They stood on the cliff of that dark valley and peered into the blackness and thought, “Lord, if…”

Where was Jesus? He was there in the darkness of that tomb. And before raising Lazarus, He was with Mary and Martha, weeping with them! Where is Jesus? He is forever in the midst of our darkness, in the black caverns of our life. He sees the grieving widow. He sees the grieving father and mother. He knows the pain of the journey.

Isaiah said, “He is a man of sorrows, acquainted with grief” (Isaiah 53:3). It is comforting to know that our sorrows are His sorrows and that He knows the aching sense of loss and grief. God never promised to remove our grief, only to give it purpose. Mary and Martha were united with Jesus in sadness, the grief of loss. And Jesus entered into that grief.

Many who read this article have stood on that same cliff. They have suffered the loss of someone dear. They have battled, or even are currently battling, the unmerciful giant called grief and, like Mary and Martha and every human soul who has waged that battle, we are losing the battle. There is no guarantee of tomorrow for any of us or for those dear to us.

So when darkness falls in our lives where is Jesus? We ask, “Lord, if I must walk through this valley of grief, where are you?” Scripture answers the question this way; “If I go up to heaven, you are there; if I go down to the place of the dead, you are there. If I ride the wings of the morning, if I dwell by the farthest oceans, even there your hand will guide me, and your strength will support me. I could ask the darkness to hide me, and the light around me to become night – but even in darkness I cannot hide from you. To you the night shines as bright as day. Darkness and light are both alike to you.” (Ps 139:8-12)

For Mary and Martha, the darkness and grief for Lazarus was temporary. Jesus allowed it so that His power over death could be made known at the resurrection of Lazarus. Jesus was there, orchestrating His plan. Out of the darkness of that tomb came a foreshadowing of his own resurrection, which would give light and hope to the entire world now that death was defeated.