By Carol Becwar
I recently attended a 50th anniversary celebration. And I was in the wedding party in 1967! At age 13, life seemed long, and sometimes slow. But as the decades passed and life got more complex, my perspective changed drastically. Now when I look at old pictures, or observe my children as adults who are accustomed to the rat race of life, I know beyond any doubt that life is short and crazy fast.
There is no denying the signs of time passing. Though I have to see my image in the mirror to really accept I'm 50 years older, I have experienced much in my life that has brought the inevitability of death to my attention. Years of raising children, going to college, and pursuing a career now seem like wisps of smoke to me. I've walked loved ones through debilitating illness and death. Even happy occasions – birthdays, graduations, anniversaries – are set points marking our movement through time to the end of life on earth.
I think it's good to be aware of life's brevity. In Psalm 39, King David is deeply troubled at the successes of evil people and the uphill battle of obeying God when surrounded by a culture focused only on personal gain. He writes,
4 Show me, Lord, my life’s end
and the number of my days;
let me know how fleeting my life is.
5 You have made my days a mere handbreadth;
the span of my years is as nothing before you.
Everyone is but a breath,
even those who seem secure.
How often I have been caught up in chasing after what I think is important, forgetting to trust God or to even ask God for help. In the rush of life, I have often lost my sense of purpose, selfishly pursuing the wrong things. What a waste of precious time!
I understand why David wanted to see life's end. He was speaking out of despair, but perhaps also seeking perspective. I don't have to know the date and time of my last breath, but I do have to remember that a last breath is coming. Meanwhile, if I trust in God, seek his will for me, and pursue him in love, I will find joy in every day.