My Favourite Stories #73

Vanished without a Trace.

 Do you find it troubling that life is no more than a blip on the radar screen of the universe? A mere snap of the fingers between two eternities. My favorite book of the Old Testament describes life 30 times as meaningless, a wisp of vapor, a puff wind, empty, useless, insignificant, brief, insubstantial, frail, unreliable, futile and purposeless.

If that isn’t bad enough, when it is all over, someone will sum up your life in a 10 minute ‘sketch.’ I have done a lot of funerals and know the cemetery chapels allocate a certain amount of time that you have to finish in. So, have you ever wondered what your 10-minute sketch will be?  The truth is all of us are destined to be forgotten. This was one of the things that troubled me about my father’s passing. I thought (because he wasn’t famous or infamous) that once my brothers and I are gone, nobody will even know that he had been here. Within a generation, even the most famous are unheard of. As an older teacher I am amazed at what my students don’t know about our recent history.

A while ago I read a book called, “Great Mysteries.” It was about the many people in history that just disappeared without a trace. For example, the sailors on the Mary Celeste. The ship was found just sailing along in the Atlantic. Sails set, tables furnished with food, but the crew had just disappeared. Explorers like Shackleton and his fellow explorers in the Artic just dsappeared. Even whole colonies! In 1597 Sir Walter Raleigh left 117 men women & children on an Island in Nth Carolina. Three years later when he came back there was no trace of them and no indication as to what had happened.

I read in the book of a young lover who disappeared in the 16th Century the  night before he was to elope with the crown princess  of Hanover. Foul play was suspected but never proven. He just vanished without a trace. There are many stories like this.

 Even Australia has its stories of people who vanished without a trace. Like Leichardt, who has rivers, waterfalls, Mountain ranges and even a Sydney suburb named after him. He disappeared trying to cross North Australia from east to west in 1846. That was a whole group, comprising of 2 aboriginals, 4 white fellas, 7 horses, 108 sheep and 50 Bullocks as well as 20 mules and dogs! Much of the information about Australia’s interior was gathered by the nine search parties sent out to find him. He vanished without a trace!

Leichardt and others manage to achieve a Temporary immortality, just like the Egyptian Pharaoh’s whose works and names remain, but what of his eternal destiny! Tragic though all this sounds these stories have spiritual overtones. These stories in the flesh have a  counterpart in the Spirit because without Christ we are destined to become like a dry leaf blown before the wind, and we will vanish from the face of universe without even a trace that we have ever been here.

When I try and clean up my computer by deleting files it always asks me the question, ”Are you sure you want to delete file XXXX”. If you look for a deleted file it will always say “file not found”. As I struggled with the physical lose of files a parallel began to form in my mind. We are making decisions for eternity, sometimes the Holy Spirit will ask “are you sure you want to make that decision?” Because the Bible reveals a time will come when a person’s file will be removed. If you make it to heaven your loved ones are not going to spend eternity grieving. The Bible says He will wipe away our tears and the former things will not come into remembrance. You will be forgotten; your file will be removed. Then the paltry attempt of a lifetime; the work, the sweat, the trials, the emotions of years spent making a life time will be lost in the further most reaches of universe with one line attached; “FILE NOT FOUND”

Your allotted time on this earth is as the passing of a shadow. Where you spend eternity is your choice. God is offering you more than a blip on the radar screen of eternity and what we cannot attain for ourselves comes in the person of His Son as a gift.

He built a bridge from a cross of wood

And there where time stopped eternity stood.

Choose you this day whom you will serve!

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