If you ask little children what they are going to be when they grow up, they tell you some wonderful things. But as they grow up, they see many of those things were not realistic. Children are not the only ones who can have an unrealistic view of life. We tend to ignore the things we don’t like in life and pretend that they don’t matter. But that of course doesn’t do us any good. Let’s have a realistic view of life.
If you have a realistic view of life, you will recognize its limitations. There is going to be work and sorrow in life. And life is going to end. We are born, we grow bigger and stronger, and we get smarter. But then we grow older and weaker and we finally die. There are deaths every day. All kinds of people die – the famous and the unknown, the rich and the poor. All die.
History brings that fact home to us. People lived in this area a thousand years ago. And they died. Two hundred years ago there were farmers raising crops here. They lived as we do, but they are no longer here. We consider these limitations if we are going to have a realistic view of life.
Children’s stories end with “They lived happily ever after.” Many short stories and novels give the same impression. In movies, everything works out in the end. But the story of our lives here ends with our death.
We also see the glories of life in a realistic way. The glories of life are the things we take pride in and in which we find pleasure. Things like: health and strength, youth and beauty, knowledge and education, ambition and achievement, success and honor, family and friends, there are also things like our house, car, money and clothing. All these things are part of the glories of life.
The Bible tells us that the glories of life are like a flower. A flower blooms on a plant and it is beautiful. But it soon dries up and falls off. That is the way it is with the glories of life. Strength and beauty are lost with age. Knowledge is forgotten and buried in the grave. Fame is short lived and heroes of one era are forgotten in the next. The house grows old, paint fades, cars wear out, clothing becomes outdated, and money is spent, lost or stolen.
The realistic view of life is disheartening. But it is true. If we want to be realistic, we cannot ignore these things but face the facts.
What is the point of being realistic about these things? Wouldn’t it be better to try to forget these depressing facts and try to enjoy life while we still can? It would be except for something else that is true.
We are going to die. But the Word of God does not change. The Word of God tells us about Jesus who died to pay for our sins. If you believe that, then you will outlive all change and corruption. We see the realistic view of life all around us. But when the flower of this world is gone, when all the things that brought you glory are gone, when you are gone from this earth, as a believer in Jesus and what he has done for you, you will be living forever in heaven.
(Pastor Marc Frey is the pastor at Peace of Our Savior Lutheran Church and Preschool (WELS) New Carlisle, OH www.peaceofoursavior.net)