Psalm 39: 4-7
4 “O Lord, make me know my end
and what is the measure of my days;
let me know how fleeting I am!
5 Behold, you have made my days a few handbreadths,
and my lifetime is as nothing before you.
Surely all mankind stands as a mere breath! Selah
6 Surely a man goes about as a shadow!
Surely for nothing, they are in turmoil;
man heaps up wealth and does not know who will gather!
7 “And now, O Lord, for what do I wait?
My hope is in you.
Living in the Now
My husband and I were recently discussing how each year overseas seems to go by faster than the preceding season. The same seems to be true with the years of our lives. When I was younger, I used to look forward to being older; “Look at all their freedom and independence,” I would think to myself. I turned 30 a few months ago, and now looking at younger adults and kids, I sometimes think, “Look at all their freedom from life’s burdens and responsibilities.” It is easy for us to see other people and different stages of life and deem them superior when we don’t know what those lives or seasons entail. We know our own burdens, but theirs remain unknown.
I recently heard the poem, “Present Tense,” which was published in The Chicago Tribune in 1989. It was written by Jason Lehman, who at that time, was only 14 years old:
It was spring, But it was summer I wanted,
The warm days, And the great outdoors.
It was summer, But it was fall I wanted,
The colorful leaves, And the cool, dry air.
It was fall, But it was winter I wanted,
The beautiful snow, And the joy of the holiday season.
It was winter, But it was spring I wanted,
The warmth, And the blossoming of nature.
I was a child, But it was adulthood I wanted,
The freedom, And the respect.
I was 20, But it was 30 I wanted,
To be mature, And sophisticated.
I was middle-aged, But it was 20 I wanted,
The youth, And the free spirit.
I was retired, But it was middle age I wanted,
The presence of mind, Without limitations.
My life was over.
But I never got what I wanted.
Water your own Grass
We can easily miss out on living our lives because we are so caught up in the lives of others – the what if’s, future seasons, or the past seasons. Over the last few years, birthdays have become a time of reflection for me. It’s an opportunity to thank God for all He has done in the past year, to examine my heart, see if there is any lingering disappointment or bitterness, and to pause and remember this life is fleeting. I want to choose contentment and thankfulness in this current season — content with having turned 30 and thankful to God for each day I have on this earth while looking forward to the rest of eternity. It feels like I’m pausing to stare deep into the tiny grains of sand in my hands as they quickly sift through my fingers down into the sand below. As I watch it fall, my gaze shifts from the small grains to the profound expanse of beach around me, and I am reminded that this is not my story. This world and this short life are, thankfully, not about me. This is all God’s story and my small grains of sand are humble contributions to His greater and glorious story of redemption.