On a recent trip to the Grand Canyon, I visited all kinds of ruins. Some of the building were cliff dwellings, others were houses built beneath boulders. Although they were all different, they had one thing in common—they were empty. As I walked around the crumbling homes, I wondered about the people who used to lived in them. At one time, those people had hopes and dreams. At one time, they had struggles and worries. As I walked, I sighed. I knew about worry. The reason I was on “vacation” was because I had to evacuate while the fields next to my house were being sprayed. My trip wasn’t scheduled, and I didn’t really have time for it. There were important things I needed to do. Taking time out to protect my health wasn’t in my plans.
As I squinted down at a tumbled pile of bricks, I realized that the people who had built these walls had battled problems too. My shoes stirred up dust, and the sun beat down, as I picked my way through abandoned rooms. The things that were so important–so STRESSFUL–to the people who had lived here, did they actually matter in the grand scheme of things? Whatever worries that had consumed these people had long since been forgotten. The things that were vitally important to them had crumbled into discarded piles of pebbles and dust.
As I studied the ancient ruins, I began examining my own life—my own worries. Were the things consuming me REALLY important? Would I even remember them ten or twenty years down the road? Putting my hand against a sunbaked wall, I began to feel the brevity of my life. James 4:14 says our lives are like a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away. It’s so true. Time goes so fast. Years slip by so quickly. In light of eternity, what problems are really worth stressing over?
I took a long, hard look at my life during my trip, and I realized that I was wasting quite a bit of mental energy on things that were temporary at their best. Ever since I came home, I’ve been praying, “Lord, show me what really matters. Help me not to waste any more time.” As I look at the pictures I took at the ruins, I feel that the people who used to live there would approve.