I was driving home in my truck with my very young (at the time) son and we were having quality "Cab time". Not sure what that is?
"Cab Time" is coveted time in my heart. The cab of my truck during these times is a no holds barred conversation pit. If there is something on my kids mind they have the opportunity to get it out in the open in the cab of my truck. We talk about anything and everything. It can be pretty intense and if you have problems with breaking things down multiple times in a row, then "Cab Time" is probably not for you.
We have discussed the differences between hot wheels cars and matchbox cars (Yes there is a major difference) , time travel, hurtful words, personality disorders of Zebras in their migrating patterns, and basically anything and everything a child can think of.
As we have taken this time I am always amazed at the different burdens and thoughts that my kids can carry on their hearts and minds. Once my three year old daughter needed to know what made bird poop white. This was a major concern with her and it was while we had an in-depth discussion about the internal plumbing of North American whooping cranes that I was reminded of how special this little girl truly is and how beautiful her heart is!
This night was different. This "Cab Time" was a time stop moment.
My family had recently been to Illinois for a family trip and had the opportunity to have spent some time with some of my wife's family. My wife had taken the kids with her to visit with her mom's sister, "Aunt Marge". It was during this visit that Clark had gotten to be re-acquainted with his Aunt Marge.
She was a saint who loved children and found tremendous delight in being surrounded by family that she could pour out her love on. When she saw my kids that night they had dinner, she took complete ownership of making sure that they knew how much they were loved and that they knew that she believed that each of them were so smart and beautiful. Aunt Marge was in the closing years of her life and her health was slipping away from her.
We had received word that "Aunt Marge" had graduated this world to be part of the kingdom that she had longed to see and I had no idea that Clark was deep in thought about this event, so as we began our trip home, "Cab Time" came to life.
"Daddy", He asked. "I really liked Aunt Marge, and she made me feel so very important. I am really sad that she died." He began to cry as he then asked why God made people die if He loved them.
There is not one adult that I know of that if given the chance for "Cab Time" with their heavenly Father would not ask the same question in their own unique way.
In fact, I remember one night not too long ago receiving a call from a parent whose teenager was stoned out of their mind and near collapse. As I sat next to that teenager on the couch they looked at me through tears and asked, "Is this all there is? Why does God allow so much pain in my life?".
It is in the book of James that I found the answer for this question.
"Go to now, ye that say, To day or to morrow we will go into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain: Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away. For that ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that." ~James 4:13-15
I looked at this verse wrong for so long. It was always presented to me in the light that I only had so much time to do as much as I could for the Lord. While it is true that we only have so much time to serve the Lord, this is not what the verse is saying.
James is making the point that it is not guaranteed that we have a tomorrow and that living in the future is in fact wasting the present. Living in the future is living in fantasy. It may or may not happen the way we imagine it to be. Likewise, living in the past is also wasting the present. The past cannot be changed or corrected. Paul counted the past accomplishments as dung. All of us would change something about our past, but we cannot.
That leaves only the present.
Life in general is referred to as a vapor. Just a wisp of air.
As Clark struggled to express his feelings to me about how sad he was over the loss of his re-acquainted new friend, my gaze rested on a cord that was on the floor of my truck.
It was a little brass tipped headphone jack for my phone. I picked it up and told Clark about the verse that you and I just looked at.
"Clark, do you see how this cord has a metal part to it?", I asked?
"Now just imagine that the dark part of this cord stretched on and on and in fact it never stopped. It just went on forever. This metal part is the part of the cord that we get to live here on this earth. It is just a vapor of time we have been given to glorify God."
The fact is that most people have absolutely no comprehension of eternity. Life for them here is all that there is. Just the metal piece.
They spend all of their time and energy and most of the "Metal part" working for the last 16th of an inch of "metal part".
Everything that they do is centered on that little bit of life that they can see.
Jesus said in Matthew 6:
"Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also."
We get it backwards really fast.
Then He drops the big bomb!
"Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment? Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they? Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature? And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith? Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof." ~Matthew 6:25-34
He has just been approached about settling a legal dispute. He informs the hopeful lawsuit happy man that His purpose was not to handle legal disputes and then draws a parable about a man that lived for himself and trusted in what he had for security. He lets them know that the purpose for the "metal part" of the cord of life was to seek God.
Life is a vapor.
It is just the metal part of a never ending cord.
This life is not about us. It never has been. It has always been about Him!
Yes, we get to enjoy it, but the "metal part" is not about us. It has always been about Him.
The "Metal Part" is our gift from God and it is and it is our opportunity to surrender to Him the one thing that we will not have the ability to give Him after we meet him.
Just the "Metal Part" of a never ending cord.
Climbing with you,