Psalm 39:4-7 New Living Translation (NLT)
4 “Lord, remind me how brief my time on earth will be.
Remind me that my days are numbered—
how fleeting my life is.
5 You have made my life no longer than the width of my hand.
My entire lifetime is just a moment to you;
at best, each of us is but a breath.” Interlude
6 We are merely moving shadows,
and all our busy rushing ends in nothing.
We heap up wealth,
not knowing who will spend it.
7 And so, Lord, where do I put my hope?
My only hope is in you.
This passage “jumped out” at me this morning when I came to it as part of a daily reading plan. I had already been thinking about the brevity of life after a conversation this week with a friend who had recently lost a parent.
I spent almost four years as a pastor of an older, established congregation. This congregation had a significant number of older people, and during my time there I participated in more funerals than I can count. One personal take-away for me during this time was a constant reminder that I needed to count my days and realize that each day, each moment, was important.
Why this reflection as part of a devotional for Tabor College? Shifting the focus a bit from the end of life to pursuing studies; like our students, I also completed a degree while working full-time, juggling family life, and constant studying. I know how easy it can be to focus exclusively on the end goal. “Just get it done” can become all one lives for during this time.
And this is important; focus toward the end goal is critical. But sometimes I think it’s just as important, just like a driver who momentarily looks down at the instrument panel to gage speed, temperature, and to check the gas; that during an intense period in life it’s important to look down, and evaluate the brevity of life and to take some time to stop and celebrate. Go to the movies, play with our children, read a (fun) book on the back deck.
After listing what could be seen as a bunch of negatives, the Psalmist reiterates that his hope is ultimately in God alone.
May we be people who hope in God. Who look toward the goal, but also glance down and see the good gifts all around us.