We are not in control of our lives

The media has been carrying news about Aloysius Pang, a Mediacorp actor who often appeared on the Mandarin TV. The 28-year-old died on 23rd January after sustaining injuries while doing repair works inside a howitzer at a Singapore Armed Forces training exercise in New Zealand. The accident was probably unexpected as Aloysius had just gone for a refresher course before the military exercise in New Zealand. Safety measures were also in place. But the fatal accident happened. The late celebrity was attached to a local actress and he had also been working hard to save money for marriage. Aloysius had hoped to marry when he reached 31 years old. Judging from the responses of fellow actors and actresses, Aloysius was also well-liked. The future looked bright for him. But one accident dashed all hopes.

Dear friends, we are not in control of our lives: God alone is. The Bible puts this fact so succinctly: “What is your life? You are mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes” (James 4:14). In other words, today we are alive, the next moment we can be gone. The Bible writer is speaking to people who are so confident about their future and who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city on business and make money” (James 4:13). Such a way of speaking is foolish: James’ reply is basically this: “Are you sure you can still be alive to do all that you have planned? You are so vulnerable and fragile: alive today and dead tomorrow!”

Many lives including that of Aloysius Pang have demonstrated this fact: you are not in control of your lives. You may die anytime, and unexpectedly.

How then should we regard our lives? James exhorts us: “Instead, you ought to say, ‘If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that’” (James 4:15). Because it is God who decides our future, we will be wise to ensure that our lives are pleasing in His eyes. He is the Lord of every living creature and the universe, the final court of appeal, the judge who has absolute power and whose decision is final.

First, God decides our happiness on earth (Eccl 2:24-26):

A person can do nothing better than to eat and drink and find satisfaction in their own toil. This too, I see, is from the hand of God, for without Him, who can eat or find enjoyment? To the person who pleases Him, God gives wisdom, knowledge and happiness, but to the sinner He gives the task of gathering and storing up wealth to hand it over to the one who pleases God.

Second, God decides our destiny in eternity (Rev 20:11-15):

Then I saw a great white throne and Him who was seated on it. The earth and the heavens fled from His presence, and there was no place for them. And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books. The sea gave up the dead that were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them, and each person was judged according to what they had done. Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. The lake of fire is the second death. Anyone whose name was not found written in the book of life was thrown into the lake of fire.

What must you do? First, you must ensure that you are a child of God, who has received Jesus into your heart as Lord and Saviour. Only then will your sins be washed away completely and only then will God’s wrath be removed forever. Second, stop rebelling against God. Walk humbly and softly before your Creator for He alone controls your future. Then you will be blessed.