I was driving down the 401 in Ontario, going from Montreal to Kingston. It was an exciting day; I was picking up four of my girls to bring them home for Christmas. All the way down the highway all I could think about were the big hugs I would receive and the lively conversation home. Like their dad, my girls like to talk. It had been a couple of months since I had seen them last and there was plenty of news to get caught up on.
I started off in Montreal with a beautiful morning, albeit a bit cold. The sky was fairly blue and the sun promised a good day. All the way down the highway it was looking good, traffic was light and even the number of trucks on the highway were few in number. Being so close to Christmas I figured there were not a lot of goods left to ship. I had brought along my wife's IPod and I was catching up on some of my favorite CBC radio shows that I had fallen behind on. All in all in was an excellent drive. Then someone hit a switch.
Seemingly from nowhere I ran into a wall of snow. I was only at Cornwall but it was like I had been teleported to a different world. In a blink of an eye everything changed. Snow started covering the highway and speeds dropped. I found myself in a long line of cars which were down to 40 km/h. Then we started hitting whiteout sections and I could only pray that everyone was still moving at the same speed because I couldn't see them. The wind died down for a moment and I could see cars in ditches and off to the side of the highway. I was amazed how quickly everything changed. But I guess that is life.
Sometimes we think that life is a fixed thing, that nothing will change, that nothing can disturb our little bit of peace. Then we get that phone call, or email, or we have that meeting that changes everything. That's when we realize how fragile life really is as our house of cards come tumbling down. Illness can do that or the impact of someone's decision, a wrong move on our part or some disaster in the world. Really, it doesn't take much to disturb the delicate balance of our lives. Just like what happened with that freak snow storm, everything can change in the blink of an eye. You can't depend on your health, your bank account or even the relationships in your life. As good as all of that is, it can all be taken away from you. I learned that the hard way and it was the reason I was going to pick up four of my girls for Christmas. Everything can change.
Jesus told the parable of the farmer who had a bountiful crop. It was so big that he had to build some extra barns to store it. We may consider this to be a prudent man, laying up provision for his future but Jesus called him foolish. The crop was far more than the man could possibly use but he went through the expense of building barns he did not need to store up the food he did not need. Jesus said that he would not even get a chance to admire what he had done because that night his life would end. At the same time Jesus told us that our life should not be filled with concerns for tomorrow because we have enough to deal with today. In fact, if you read through the many teachings of Jesus you can't help but notice that Jesus encouraged us to live in the moments of life.
Too often we waste what we have and do not appreciate what we have because we are pursuing tomorrow. So many people fail to live today because they are working for their future. They figure life will begin at 65 years of age, as they retire. But life is today, joy is today, salvation is today. We have no idea what the world will look like tomorrow. We cannot rely on our health because so many things can impact it. We cannot rely on our wealth because it can so easily be taken away. We cannot rely on our relationships because people change. Although we can enjoy all those things while we have them, our life cannot depend on them. There is only one thing we can rely on, that will never change, that our life can be built upon and that is our Father's love.
And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age. (Matthew 28:20)
Everything in life is like shifting sand. You can try all you want to keep everything the same but the nature of life is change. The question is, what solid thing will you build your life on:
“Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand." (Matthew 7:24-26)
If you are a wise builder, you may be shaken by the storms of life but you will not be destroyed. You may lose everything that is familiar but you will still possess the only thing that is of any real value. Enjoy what you have today but don't become dependent on it. Enjoy it but don't worry if it will still be there tomorrow. Enjoy it today but keep yourself centered on Jesus who will never leave you or forsake you, even in the blinding snowstorms of your life.