Today I performed another funeral and was reminded of the brevity of life. Death can catch us off guard, leaving us unprepared when a loved one dies. There is a time appointed unto every man to die and that's one appointment we cannot break.
Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit”— 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. James 4:13-14
From this passage in the book of James we see that life is fragile. We don't know what's going to happen ten minutes from now, let alone tomorrow or next year. These people mentioned in this passage arrogantly assumed they would wake up tomorrow, travel safely to a city, spend a year there and make a profit. They were making presumptions about an unknown future, over which they had no control or guarantees.
Jon Blunk was a 26 year old Navy veteran who loved to help people. He served five years in the U.S. Navy, including three tours in the Middle East and had hoped to re-enlist and become a Navy SEAL.
On the night of July 20, 2012, Jon Blunk and his girlfriend decided to take in a movie. During the screening of "The Dark Knight Rises", James Holmes opened fire in that Century 16 movie theater, and Blunk instinctively threw himself on top of his girlfriend. He was killed by the gunfire, but his girlfriend survived. The Aurora, CO massacre left 12 people dead and 58 injured. Life is fragile.
These verses also remind us that life is short. It's just like a mist, one moment you see it and a few seconds later it's gone. Like the steam from your morning cup of coffee, you see it and just that quickly it disappears into thin air. Life is like that. The book of Job describes the frailty and fleetingness of life as a shadow, a breath or a cloud. The Psalms describe life as a wildflower or a vapor.
Moses compared life to the grass of the field that sprouts in the morning and by evening it has faded under the hot sun. He also wrote, "The years of our life are seventy, or even by reason of strength eighty; yet their span is but toil and trouble; they are soon gone, and we fly away." Psalm 90:10 No wonder he prayed, "So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom." Psalm 90:12
We also know is that death is certain. George Bernard Shaw was exactly right when he said, "The statistics on death are quite impressive. One out of one people die." You would think that because death is certain, everybody would be desperate to get right with God. Just the opposite is true. We don't want to think about death and live as though we're immortal and invincible. We see footage of catastrophes, shake our heads in disbelief at the dead bodies and continue life with no thought of repentance. It is truly unwise not to prepare for something that is 100% certain. Death is certain.
Prepare yourself. "...if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved." Romans 10:9-10