To a child, lot's of things are real. I don't mean like a child thinks Barney's real, when he's really imaginary. I mean real as in substantial, weighty, worth living and dying for. The ten minute drive to the store to buy a coveted toy seems real. It's a never-ending agony. A hershey's kiss seems real, and many a little-'un will wear a parent out to get one, even though it's gone in one quick bite.
In a flash these little things are gone, and it's as if they never existed. They were never real, but it's only obvious in hindsight. The trip to the store is barely a memory during the ride home with the new toy safely in little hands. The candy is gone, and it feels like there may never be candy again. The little pains and pleasures that seemed so huge seem to just dissolve, and leave us wondering whether they were ever real at all.
The parallel to grown-up Christian life is obvious. It's obvious, but it's not easy.
What is real about our lives? Going to the county fair and getting a HUGE thing of cotton candy is not real, but the Dad who gave it to you is. Having your behind blistered ends quickly enough, but finding out Dad could look at you like that goes on and on. You forget how annoying it was for your little sister to always ignore you, but the memory of that one time you stood up for her against that bully lives on forever.
The car I own is a vapor. It not only could be gone tomorrow, it will be. My "first car" is barely a memory worth dredging up, much less all the ones after it. The passengers in it, though....
(And no, there was never a girl in that car.)
All the things in my life are clouds blowing in, taking form, and blowing on again. And the people are, too. They take shape, and then they blow on through.
And then I share a moment of the Lord with someone, and an anchor pin is driven into my heart and connected to theirs. There is a thread tied on that will never pass. In all eternity, that moment will stand like granite. I will forget my bosses, but I will remember the ones with whom I connected over Jesus Christ. I will always remember the little joker I showed how to make the harmonica play a song. I'll forever remember his eyes lighting up, and him yelling, "I'm doing it!" and disappearing into the crowd to show his Mom. I hope to share that moment with him again a few thousand years from now. Little Joker there is no vapor.
I wonder which things in my life are just pretty smoke. Which prayers will I happily forget ever happened? Which handshakes will I treasure for eternity? Which gifts will I wish I had given to another, and which labors will prove to have been richest?
When Jesus watches my life, I wonder how much of what He sees is real.