A Prayer about a Brief Life and a Big Gospel
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 while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.” James 4:13-15
Dear heavenly Father, you haven’t made us for “fifteen minutes in the spotlight,” but for an eternity of glorifying you and enjoying you forever. As this day begins, I praise you for such a hope and future—a future that’s already begun for us in Jesus. Our eternal life began the day you “raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms” (Eph. 2:6), to the praise of your glorious grace (Eph. 1:6).
Yet, Father, these verses in James remind us that our lifespan in this body isn’t very long at all. We’re more like a brief mist than an aging oak. I feel this more than ever, and I’m both sobered and gladdened by the thought. Life in the new heaven and new earth has never looked so good; so equally true, the gospel of your grace has never seemed to precious and huge.
So how would you have me live the rest of my “misty moment”? Only you know when I’ll “vanish” from this body. Only you know what’ll happen tomorrow. I’ll keep on planning, but it’s you who orders my steps (Prov. 16:9); there’s so much peace in that affirmation, so much. Your sovereignty is my sanity…
Father, in light of the gospel, what should I spend more time doing and less time doing? What have I been putting off that really matters to you? With whom do I need to spend more face-to-face and heart-to-heart time? Who am I still holding hostage by the chains of my unforgiveness and bitterness? What am I allowing to bug me that isn’t all that “bug-worthy”? Where should I invest more of your money and less of my worries?
Father, I praise you that I’m not going to merit any more of your affection by doing a better job with any of these things. None of these questions has a scorecard attached to it. It’s Jesus’ performance and record I boast in, but your grace frees me to ask the right questions and live a freer, more intentional life. You make my “gospel bucket list” for me. So very Amen I pray, in Jesus’ matchless and magnificent name.