"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." (Jas. 4:13,14).
Last month a dozen citizens of Aurora, Colorado woke up to a typical Thursday, or so they thought. They went about their daily routines; work, kids to the park, grocery shopping, etc., and then they decided to go to the movies, at midnight, on that day. They did what most of us in America do on a daily basis. Their day was characterized by what they didn't do, nothing too risky, nothing too dangerous, just typical summertime American activities. What they didn't know, and could not fathom was that this would be the last day they would experience on this earth. They were brutally murdered by an evil man, playing the part of a particular actor in the movie, as they watched it.
Events like these remind us that no matter how much control we think we have over our lives the unexpected is lurking in the darkness. Regardless of how much we have our lives planned and mapped out, no matter how sure we are that we know where we'll be and what we'll be doing tomorrow, the hard lesson is that life is fragile and frail. There are uncountable ways we could find ourselves at death's door. This world is full of evil, disease, trouble, tragedy, uncertainties, and like James tells us, life is like a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.
There is a temptation to look at horrifying events like this is and think: "Oh, that will never happen to me. I'll be smarter than that. I'll do a better job of planning and protecting myself than they did." No we won't! How can we? The truth is, no one ever expects it to be them; no one ever expects their lives to compleely change so suddenly and senselessly. The stark reality is that tomorrow it could be us.
We must constantly look at our own lives to insure that we are ready for death today because tomorrow might not ever come. Are you ready? Is your life right with God today? Don't delay! Don't let the tragedies of today take away your promise of an eternity in Heaven. "Today is the day of salvation, tomorrow may be too late..." Remember what the question of a song we often sing asks: "Are you ready, are you ready, are you ready for that day to come?"
By Aaron C. Andrews in The Gospel Power, Vol. 19, No. 8, August, 2012.
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