I heard the concept “18 Summers” and near-about panicked.
If you haven’t heard “18 Summers” yet, the idea is for mothers to savor each June – August because we’ll have a measly 18 summers with each child at home. I quickly did the math and realized that I’m half-out of summers with our oldest. That sent me into a tizzy. Only 9 more summers for bubbles and picnics and water balloons? Only 9 more summers of family vacations and star-gazing and piles of flip-flops in the entryway? Then 8, 7, 6, 5, and… and soon, she’ll be texting every few days with updates about her missions trip or summer job or husband. It’s almost too much to consider.
But it’s true. Time is precious!
I understand why the “Bucket List” movement is still charging ahead full-steam. Who wouldn’t want to make the most of these fleeting summer days? Already, the Internet is full of “Summer 2015 Bucket Lists”. We are fervently creating the very best lists of the very best things for the very best summer. And we should!
We desperately want to make the most of our time. To make it meaningful.
James – Jesus’ brother – said it best when he called life a vapor. A mist. A breath.
James would have been all about “18 Summers” and he would have had the world’s best Bucket List going because he understood life’s brevity. Just looking at his 33-year-old brother on the cross, he might have thought, “Wait… he was here… and now he’s gone?”
But then, when Jesus rose from death and opened James’ eyes to see and believe the God of Eternity, James gained some valuable perspective.
“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”— 14 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. 15 Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.”
Here’s the thing: though we are a mist, we are a mist in God’s hands.
The thing we feared would be so fleeting, so sand-between-our-fingers… finds its meaning and significance in one place alone: in God’s hands.
(In comparison to God, the power of a good Bucket List fades a bit, wouldn’t you say?)
So, when you and I feel the threat of the vapor, may we be happy, entrusting our souls – and the souls of our children – into the hands of the Eternal God.
As James says, “If the Lord wills, we will live!” And live abundantly.