It’s a bit ridiculous, but one of my favorite things to do when it’s cold is to blow out a long stream of white puffed steam. The vapor dances in the air briefly before dissipating, never to be seen again. That’s the kind of imagery I think David conjures when he discusses his own mortality; “Indeed, You have made my days as handbreadths, and my age is as nothing before You; certainly every man at his best state is but vapor. Selah” (Psalms 39:5). It’s hard not to see his point, compared to God the best any of us can ever do or offer seems insignificant; like a puff of steam on a winter day.
The revelation of one’s own relevance in the grand scheme of the universe is almost enough to instigate a existential crisis; or it least it would if the analogy of our existence ended there. It is true that we have a short time on this earth, and much of what we do may not effect much in the long run, but God doesn’t see our lives as inconsequential. David praised in wonder at the power and awesomeness of God, how He made the universe in it’s complexities, and asked: “What is man that You are mindful of him,And the son of man that You visit him?For You have made him a little lower than the angels,And You have crowned him with glory and honor” (Psalms 8:4-5).
Even when we think our lives mean nothing, God doesn’t. He has numbered every one of our hairs (Luke 12:7), He’s collected our tears in a bottle (Psalms 56:8), He is fascinated by us and by no means discounts our deeds. The bible repeatedly tells us that we will give an account for all of our deeds when we stand before God, so someone is keeping track of what we do. Thankfully, Jesus redeems us from our sins, wiping our slate clean, and amazingly our good deeds are remembered. Jesus told His followers that anything they did for others in His name would be remembered, even as simple as giving a cup of water to someone thirsty (Mark 9:41).
Will the earth quake and the sky turn black when any of us die? Probably not, but that doesn’t make our lives meaningless. While it is true that our acts will begin to fade into memory as soon as our time is up, but we are being observed by someone who values what we do. So, even if life may seem like just a vapor in the wind sometimes, its every moment is watched by our Lord in the clouds