Several months ago I was taking my wife to work when the reality of what James said concerning the brevity of life (James 4:13-14) hit me squarely between the eyes. As my wife and I made our way down a two lane road, headed for the interstate, we were forced to stop as a school bus directly in front of us turned very slowly to the street to our left. We sat and waited for the bus to clear so that we could proceed and move forward with our short trip and the rest our day. What we could not see was a pick-up truck coming the other way at a high rate of speed. Our view of the truck was blocked due to the turning school bus. The driver of the truck also could not see us due to the size and location of the bus as it turned.
It seemed like just another morning, wiping the sleep from my eyes, making small talk with my wife and waiting for the opportunity to take my foot off the brake and finish our daily trip to Liberty University. The driver of the truck decided he did not want to wait for the bus to turn, so he threw caution to the wind and having never slowed down he recklessly pulled his truck into our lane. By the time we saw him, he was right on top of us. Our front windshield was filled with a truck going at least 50 mph, and with traffic behind us, we had no place to go. There was also very little space between me and the back end of the bus. Therefore, swerving back into the proper lane and avoiding a head-on collision seemed very improbable.
When people say that your life can flash before your eyes in a moment like this, it is very true. My wife screamed, and in that brief second, I pulled my car as far to the right as I possibly could. I thought maybe I could at least avoid a complete head-on collision and maybe he would only hit the driver side of the car. Much to our surprise, God intervened, and by His grace, the truck cleared both me and the bus even though there was not sufficient room to do so.
My wife and I realized in that moment how quickly our lives can be taken from us. The thought of leaving our children, our grandson, our church family, our friends and even our pets was devastating to consider. Yet, this is the reality of the world in which we live. As a minister of the gospel of Jesus Christ, at the age of 51, I believe God has so much more for me to accomplish in this life. However, we never truly know what God’s plan is or how He might choose to move in our lives. Solomon said; “Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring forth.” (Proverbs 27:1)
In verse 13 where James says; “Come now, you who say, today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a place…” the phrase “Come now” is meant to gain the attention of the reader. In similar fashion in this day and age, one might say; “Let me tell you something” or “Listen to me.” What James says here is very important! Life is not something we should take for granted. Every single day is a blessing from God. And even for the believer who faces the trials and tribulations of life, a bad day with Jesus is still better than a good day without Him. Joy is not found in our circumstances, joy is not a condition; joy is a choice. Every day we awaken to the life God has blessed us with, even in difficult seasons of life; joy is ours for the taking, extended to us from the very hand of God.
We also have the ability to know God, serve Him and live a life worthy of Him. These are all incredible blessings to be enjoyed in this life. However, don’t live your life waiting for something to happen in hopes that one day life will be better. Enjoy the people God has put in your life. Enjoy the love you share with a spouse, a child, a grandchild, a family member or friend. Enjoy the opportunities God provides for you to invest in other people and take advantage of those opportunities. Consider every day to be an incredible gift and live in the moment knowing that tomorrow is not promised but at least for today you can live with joy!