LORD, what is man, that thou takest knowledge of him! or the son of man, that thou makest account of him! Man is like to vanity: his days are as a shadow that passeth away. (Psalms 144:3-4)
For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away. (James 4:14)
My thoughts are reflective this morning because today (July 30) marks our anniversary. That is thirty-three years married to one woman, living in two different houses, raising three boys and four girls. So I’m thinking back across these short years, trying to figure out where they’ve gone. I asked my wife if she thinks we’ll make it another thirty-three years. She doubts it.
The Psalmist compares our lives to a shadow. One characteristic of shadows is that they leave no trace of their passing. Our life is a vapor, a cloud. Clouds make shadows, too. The shadows are felt while they are here, but soon they drift away, leaving not one crushed blade of grass, not one impression in the sand, not one trail for another to follow. The shadows cast by the clouds will never reappear in quite the same way. They are constantly moving, ever changing, but never becoming anything of substance.
That is the transitory nature of our lives. Men try to find ways not to be forgotten. Monuments are erected, bridges and highways are named for people, but memories of people drift away like a vapor, and they are not recalled.
Anniversaries will come and come again, until they fade into irrelevance. God’s Word reveals the purpose of time. We are not here to stay. But as we pass, those around us will feel the effects of our presence. It is not important that those effects are remembered and associated with us. We need no monument to be erected to remember our passage, for our goal is eternity.
Gary L. Miller