Like A Shadow

Like A Shadow

As you read this you are losing something;something that you will never be able to get back.


Last week I went to see ‘The Theory of Everything’, a look into the life of Stephen Hawking and his first wife, Jane. Stephen Hawking’s whole life has revolved around time. He was diagnosed with ALS aged 21 in 1963, and was given 2 years to live.

The film shows how, despite this diagnosis, Hawking was determined to make the little time he had left mean something. One thing the film pressed upon me was just how fleeting time is. Even huge aspects of a person’s life can be summarised so quickly: those 60 years were covered in two hours.

This is a sentiment shared by the Bible. When I looked it up, I was surprised to find so many verses that talk about how short our time is.

  • ‘My days are like an evening shadow; I wither away like grass.’ (Psalm 102:11)
  • ‘Man is like a breath; his days are like a passing shadow.’ (Psalm 144:4)
  • ‘Therefore they shall be like the morning mist or like the dew that goes early away, like the chaff that swirls from the threshing floor or like smoke from a window.’ (Hosea 3:13)

One verse I am always drawn to is James 4:14:

Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit”— yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. 

(James 4:14)

Life is too short to be waiting. Things in this world are passing away so quickly, like the mist that appears for a short while and vanishes. This is not saying that we shouldn’t be planning for the future, but instead presses upon us the urgency of making the most of the time we have.

Knowledge of this changes how we live our lives. Stephen Hawking is a good example of this. After he was diagnosed with ALS he was given two years to live. The knowledge of how little time he might have spurred him on to work harder and as a result he produced some of the best work of his life – work that has changed the way people view the world.

Jesus was only 33 years old when he died. His ministry only lasted three years – but he managed to get a lot done in that time! He didn’t put off the things God wanted him to do, or say ‘I’ll get around to it tomorrow.’ He took action when it was needed because he knew that he would not get another chance to. We need apply the same knowledge to our own lives.

Is there something that you know God wants you to do but have been putting off? Now is the time to do it.

Eternity is long, but our life on this earth is too short to be waiting – we need to make the minutes we have on earth count for something meaningful. Let the knowledge of our short time encourage you to work harder to become the person God wants you to be. Then you will be able to stand before Christ proudly, knowing that you did not run or labour in vain (Philippians 2:16).



Emma lives and works in the fabulous city of Leeds with her husband, Tim. She has a passion for encouraging those who are low in spirit and loves to hear stories of God's perfect timing. Her favourite things include a good latte, travelling, eating dessert for breakfast, dim sum and making people happy with food.

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