Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away.
I was reminded this week of exactly how fragile life really is.
It happened to the wife of an extended family member. (Note: Once you are in our family; you are always in our family. It’s a long story, but this explanation will do for now.) Due to privacy concerns, I will call him Jim and her Jane. Jane has had multiple medical issues but seemed to be doing ok. Now Jane is middle aged as is Jim. Earlier this week, Jane spiked a 102 degree temp. She went to her doctor who immediately sent her to the ER (Emergency Room for my non-US readers). It seems that Jane had a severe kidney infection. Antibiotics were administered. Jane’s immune system was weakened for what ever reason. She was transferred to ICU (Intensive Care Unit). Her kidneys failed then restarted then failed again. Her blood pressure fell then climbed. She developed pneumonia. Her fever rose to at least 105 then fell to 104.5 then climbed again. She was alert then fell into a coma. Jane died Friday morning.
It appears that she had been ill for at least a week before this but didn’t know it. Her life was cut short during what should have been the prime of her life.
Because of my weakened immune system, we couldn’t do much for Jim but pray. We couldn’t comfort him in the hospital. We can’t attend the funeral which is out of town anyway. So we will continue to pray for Jim. We will pray for his children (our grandchildren). (I told you it was a long story.)
In the midst of all this, I began to think how fragile life really is. Any breath could be our last. The next time we cross the street may be the last time we cross the street. I don’t want to sound morbid, but this is a reality.
At the same time, we can live in such a way that we don’t live in fear. I live that way. Death has no hold on me because I know that after that last breath comes glorious eternal life where there is no fear, no tears, no sickness, no death. That assurance is available to all of us through Jesus Christ.
But when this perishable will have put on the imperishable, and this mortal will have put on immortality, then will come about the saying that is written, “Death is swallowed up in victory. “O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?”
Sure, we can be believers in Jesus and still fear death. That is because we have too much of a hold on this life. I understand that. After all, there are the kids to think about. There’s the wife or husband. They are depending upon us. Perhaps we are even enjoying the “good life” with all of our needs met and most of our “wants” inhabiting our homes. I believe this demonstrates a serious lack of faith in Jesus. I would much prefer to believe like the Apostle Paul:
For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. But if I am to live on in the flesh, this will mean fruitful labor for me; and I do not know which to choose. But I am hard-pressed from both directions, having the desire to depart and be with Christ, for that is very much better; yet to remain on in the flesh is more necessary for your sake.
Yes, life is a vapor. While this vapor covers my little part of the world, I will live it for Jesus, and Melanie and my family, and you. Should I die tomorrow or live to 100, I will live it this way. I will take every advantage offered me to help those around me. That is my calling. Then, when my time is up and my vapor vanishes, I will live with Jesus forever.
 New American Standard Bible: 1995 update. 1995 (Jas 4:14). LaHabra, CA: The Lockman Foundation.
 New American Standard Bible: 1995 update. 1995 (1 Co 15:54–55). LaHabra, CA: The Lockman Foundation.
 New American Standard Bible: 1995 update. 1995 (Php 1:21–24). LaHabra, CA: The Lockman Foundation.