Will Tomorrow Surely Come?
flesh is like grass,
And all its glory like
The flower of grass.
The grass withers
And the flower falls” (1 Pet 1:24)
LIFE IS SHORT.
We all know that. For each moment of our existence, the clock ticks
mercilessly. Philosophers and great poets have expounded this universal theme,
leaving behind, as they passed through their short lives, clichés in the likes
of “Gather ye rose-buds while ye may” and “Seize the day”. Such messages are
precisely those which propel man to seek technological innovations so as to be
able to do the greatest amount of work possible in the shortest amount of time.
Such messages have become the mottos we all cling on to, whether consciously or
unconsciously, as we bustle about in worldly pursuits.
ironically however, while “Seize the day!” rings behind our backs everyday, we
seem to assume that life will go on and on, and that there will always be a
tomorrow for us again to sing “Seize the day!” The fragility and
unpredictability of human life and the imminence of loss of life seldom, if
ever, cross our minds.
study hard so that they have better job prospects, that life will be better
tomorrow. Adults slog and toil with the hope of sitting back to enjoy life in
the future. Many aspire to achieve greater heights with each day and “all
when?” is a question they never bother to answer. As it is, the whole world
moves along, apparently seizing the day, yet drunk with the notion that
tomorrow will surely come. Along this drunken path, we may be rudely sobered by
perhaps, the imminent death of someone we know. Maybe, after a while, we fall
back into the drunken state. Maybe, and hopefully, we don’t.
Just a few
weeks ago, I spoke to a sister in church. I talked about visiting her hometown
some time next year. She gave me a smile, her sweet, characteristic smile, and
replied, “Next year? Maybe I won’t be at home.” “Where would you be ?“, I
asked. “Don’t know, maybe on a tour, somewhere away from home.” I found out
what she actually meant only a week later. Doctors had told her the tumour removed from her body was malignant and the
cancerous cells were fast multiplying inside her. She is only a teenager.
word we associate with the old, the sick or those in war-torn lands. Normal
people don’t talk about death. Strangely, but true, the modern man who espouses
“Seize the day” as a way of life, and hence slogs and toils, refuses to
acknowledge the fact that for every human being, tomorrow may never come.
Chapter 12, our Lord Jesus spoke a parable about a rich man (Lk 12:16-21). This
man typifies the modern man many of us are. He stores up much wealth and plans
to build bigger barns for his goods. “Soul,” he says, “you have many goods laid
up for many years.” Sadly, he fails to realise that anytime, even “this night”,
his soul maybe required of him. For whom has he toiled? How shall he appear
If we know
we have got 30 or 50 more years to live, we will say many things can wait. Let
me earn my first million, after which I’ll settle down and serve God. Let me
get promoted as Head of Department first, then I’ll be free to take up divine
work. Let my business pickup first...let me... I do not mean these are what
Christians should seek if we really have 50 years to go. The point is, these
reflect accurately the attitudes many of us have today, which are of course
based on the presumption that our tomorrows will surely come. But, how can we
know what will happen tomorrow? (ref Jas 4:13-15) This is not to say that
Christians must not plan and we should only live from day to day. What is more
pertinent is how we ought to lead our lives if we have, say, only one year left
If we have
only one year more to live, we will probably see ourselves becoming active in
divine work. For many of us, serving God in church is something we have always
longed to do but which has always been postponed because our secular work
needed more immediate attention; and anyway, “we will serve ultimately, not
now, but hopefully soon.”
also more likely to give of ourselves to help others. Someone with 50 years to
live has 50 years to lose; he must firmly clasp his dear long life, so he has
to do his mental sums and work things out before he decides whether to help.
Someone with only one year is more likely to be the good Samaritan to stop and
help the wounded passer-by, for probably, he will only pass this way but once.
certainly more likely to show those whom we love that we love them. We will not
want to waste precious time being angry and unforgiving and lock ourselves in
emotional cold wars. We will want to reach out to our close ones to tell them
about the goodness of our Lord Jesus. We will feel the urgency to seek those
who have wandered far from the flock.
on the unpredictability of life and the possibility of death catching us
unaware is not morbid. It is in fact essential for Christians. Wise King
Solomon says, “Better to go to the house of mourning than to go to the house of
feasting; for this is the end of all men; and the living will lay it to heart.”
(Eccl 7:2) The thought of death can jerk us up, from our complacency, from our
numb, zombie-like preoccupation with the world.
is not to the swift, nor the battle to the
strong...but time and chance happen to them all. For man does not know his
time. Like fish which are taken into an evil net, and like birds which are
caught in a snare, so the sons of men are snared at an evil time, when it
suddenly falls upon them.” (Eccl 9:11,12). Time and
chance are not in our control. So, gather we rosebuds while we may, old time is
still a-flying, and this same flower that smiles today, tomorrow will be
dying—of course, with the right frame of mind, fully focused on God.