Life is short, like a vapor that vanishes after a little while

Published 5:45 am Sunday, September 24, 2017

A old man stomped angrily into a jewelry shop and waved his wristwatch in the face of the owner.

“You said this watch would last me a lifetime,” he yelled.

“Yes, I did,” the owner acknowledged. “But you looked pretty sickly the day you bought it.”

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Taking a guess at how long someone might live is risky business. Read the obituary page of any newspaper and you find that people of every age are leaving this side of eternity every day. Some are young. Some are middle-aged. Some are elderly.

The Bible speaks into every human issue, including longevity, concluding that even if we live to very old age, life is short.

“What is your life? It is a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes” (James 4:14).

People who live into their 80s, 90s and beyond all tell you the same thing, that it seems like just yesterday that they were children, chasing fireflies, catching crawdads, fishing with their fathers, doing all the fun things kids do.

Some people might consider such a discussion as this as morbid, but for followers of Christ, it’s anything but, because they have the promise of life after death in a place called Heaven. Scripture tells us what a beautiful and peaceful place it is.

“Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither has entered into the heart of man what God has prepared for those who love Him” (1 Corinthians 2:9).

Jesus has made clear that good things await those who follow Him. My friend Junior Grisham lived his life as a follower of Christ. And, in his final days on this earth, he took great comfort in knowing that he would soon be in Heaven.

Junior died a couple years ago. As I recall, it was a brutally cold day with a huge snow on the ground. I also remember Junior’s sense of anticipation, almost like he was going on an exotic vacation. He believed with all his heart the Bible’s promise of eternal life. He believed Heaven to be a real place. And he believed Jesus to be his Redeemer. With those things settled in his heart and mind, he faced death with a sense of sweet anticipation.

The hope he had was in God’s word, which says: “Let not your heart be troubled: you believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there you may be also” (John 14:1-3).

We may not know whether we’ll outlive our wristwatches on this side of eternity. But we can know that we will have everlasting life if we have placed our trust in Jesus.

Roger Alford offers words of encouragement to residents of America’s heartland. Reach him at