Will things ever change? Or does it seem like your life will continue on forever, exactly as it is today? While most people tend to look at life as a gradually shifting continuum, it is perhaps more aptly characterized as a sequence of back-to-back distinct chapters ushered in through either voluntary or involuntary change.
“So teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” (Psalms 90:12)
Looking back on my own adult life, I can isolate many distinct periods, each precipitated by something that brought about change. Marriage, moving to Northern Indiana to build our home, the birth of each of our three children, their progression from elementary to high school to college–all of these occurrences significantly altered my life. Things changed unexpectedly after our son’s ATV accident, when my father died, when my mother came to live with us two years later, and again when she passed away four years after that. We imagine they will change once more after our son graduates from college this May and our older daughter goes away to college in August, as God allows.
Personal illness also punctuates life. I felt pretty much the same physically at forty-five as twenty years earlier, but significantly different at fifty-two than a mere two years earlier because I now require surgery on both hips and experience pain after a relatively short period of activity.
Life, as we are experiencing it at EXACTLY THIS MOMENT, may go on for quite a while, or it may end abruptly and unexpectedly at any moment, due to circumstances of our own doing or beyond our control, and regardless of whether they are welcome or not. And it is exactly because of this fact that we ought to appreciate each moment we are given, because we do not know what lies ahead. The Bible says, “Man is like a breath; his days are like a passing shadow” (Psalms 144:4) and in James 4:14 we are told, “…you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away.”
Not only should we appreciate the present and be grateful for it, we should also make the most of it. Jesus recognized this fact when He observed, “I must work the works of Him who sent Me while it is day; the night is coming when no one can work.” (John 9:4) We too have a daytime portion of our lives–a period during which we can be productively active for God’s purposes–after which comes the night when we will no longer be able to accomplish anything. Whether through imminent death, or a mental or physical incapacitation because of which we are rendered significantly diminished in capability, we must not wait until we are no longer able to be significantly productive for our Master and Lord to recognize we should have been!
Thank You for the years You have give me; help me use the time I still have–whether long or short– to Your glory. Amen.