It has been said that “truth is stranger than fiction.” That certainly is true in the case of Jeanne Calment and Andre-Francois Raffry. A story in the New York Times (1995) illustrates this point.
At ninety years of age, Jeanne Calment offered her apartment en viager [for life] to Andre-Francois Raffry. All he had to do was pay her rent, the equivalent of $500 USD until she died. How could he pass on a deal like that! Well, the months turned into years — thirty of them. Jeanne lived to be a 120 years of age.
What makes the story even more interesting, Andre died before Jeanne! He was 77 years of age and had paid the equivalent of $184,000 USD. His family had to continue the payments until her death. On her 120th birthday, she said, “In life, one sometimes makes bad deals.”
Life is filled with unbelievable events. Failed businesses. Accidents. Events happen, often for no apparent reason. What seemed like a great deal may become our undoing. After all, who could know that they were paying rent for the oldest person alive!
That’s why it’s important to remain humble. Be careful, as James warned, to not boast about future profits because no one knows “what your life will be like tomorrow,” after all, it’s “only a vapor” [James 4.13-15].
An old Yiddish proverb says it all, “Man plans and God laughs.”
We may be surprised with the twists and turns in life, but God isn’t. His plans “stand firm” [Psalm 33.11]. Therefore, always consider what you do prayerfully, knowing that you are secure in God’s hands.
Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away. James 4.14