The Norman Transcript

Religion

July 17, 2014

Life on earth is a vapor

NORMAN — The last of the baby boomers turn 50 this year. This generation of Americans, born from 1946-1964, is named after the post-World War II “baby boom.” I am a baby boomer and as one of the “late boomers,” one of the last to turn 50 — tomorrow! My son recently informed me that as of Saturday I am old. (When I was 12, I thought 50 was old, too.) I guess the invitation in the mail from AARP makes it official!

So is there good news for an “old man” like me? Desperately searching for hope and the fountain of youth, I have discovered that “50 is the new 30.” I’m not sure that I want to be 30 again, but would consider it if “50 is the new 40.” Actually, a 2013 Harris poll proclaimed that 50 was America’s favorite age. Thus, I proclaim “50 is the new 50.”

One thing is for sure, I have most likely passed the mid-point of life. With the life-lines of my family, I couldn’t say that at 40 or 45. I have grandparents on both sides of my family that lived into their 90s. But then again, none of us is guaranteed tomorrow.

In the New Testament, James (4:14) reminds us that our lives are “just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away.” The reality of this truth means that whether we live a few years or a hundred years, against the backdrop of eternity, our life on earth is just a “vapor.” At age 12, you feel like you are going to live forever. At age 50, you understand better that life is fleeting and that one day each of our “vapors will vanish.”

The Psalmist writes that we are fearfully and wonderfully made by the Lord, woven and formed in the womb of our mothers. He proclaims that in “His book,” the days of our lives were ordained before we were even born. I’m glad that I don’t have a copy of that book — not sure I’m ready to know how many chapters or pages are left. As such, each day is a gift. Psalm 118:24 says “this is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.” I have learned to give thanks for each day. Now, that doesn’t mean that every day is enjoyable, or that heartache and tragedy are not part of some days. It simply means that life is precious and that life includes joy and sadness, birth and death, health and sickness. The writer of Ecclesiastes summarizes, “there is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven.” The difficult days make the good days that much better. The good moments make the bad moments bearable.

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