Campus Blog

The Morning Fog

Neil Downey

How do you know what your life will be like tomorrow? Your life is like the morning fog—it’s here a little while, then it’s gone. James 4:14 (NLT)


Last month I spoke at Cru on two different local campuses: USD in Vermillion and DSU in Madison. And while I communicate with college students online quite often, it had been over a year since the last time I had addressed a Cru weekly meeting in person. My time away from a university setting caused me to notice something when I stepped back on campus: Students are really young. Or I’m really old.

While it should come as no surprise that I’m no spring chicken -- after all, my daughter is in the midst of college visits -- I have recently become much more aware of my own aging process. I have more gray hair, I need more sleep, I don’t recover from injuries as quickly. I recently took an online health questionnaire, which calculated that my life expectancy is 82. This means (in theory) that my life is half over. Wow, that went by quickly.

In the midst of feeling sorry for myself, I heard news about Ashley Ballou-Bonnema, our friend who is battling Cystic Fibrosis. I have known Ashley since she was a freshman at Augustana College, where I discipled her husband Mark. A talented musician and singer, she has been my daughter’s voice teacher for the last two years. In spite of taking some great strides in aggressively combatting CF, her health has recently taken a turn for the worse. As I write this on Thanksgiving Day, she is in a hospital bed in Minneapolis. Her lung function is at 33 percent. Her breathing is incredibly labored. Her doctors are considering a lung transplant.

Ashley is bravely and gracefully staring death in the face.

The truth is, none of us know when we will breathe our last breath. We are never guaranteed a tomorrow, so we must maximize our todays. When it comes to our daily interactions with people, the Apostle Paul encourages believers to “make the most of the time” (Ephesians 5:15, Colossians 4:5). We are to live like we’re dying.

In light of this, we’re doing some reflecting: Are we making the most of our time? Are our priorities the same as God’s? Are we wisely investing in people: loving well, teaching well, serving well?

You can follow Ashley's journey on her blog . Please keep her and Mark in your prayers and join us as we echo the words of Moses: “Teach us to realize the brevity of life so that we may grow in wisdom” (Psalm 90:12, NLT).

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