I was looking in the mirror the other day and there, looking back at me, was this man. A man who I wasn’t sure I recognized. He was an old man. And as I contemplated my reflection, I wondered how it was possible that the years had gone by so quickly. I was reminded that life is very fleeting. Mirrors aren’t always very kind to us as we age, but they do tell us the truth. I’d like to believe that there is still a young boy who dwells inside of me. Yet, I know that my mortality is becoming more and more evident.
As I was studying Psalm 90 this week, preparing for the memorial service of a friend who had passed away, I found myself reflecting on a few of the verses. In verses one and two we read of the eternality of God. “Lord, you have been our dwelling place in all generations. Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever you had formed the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God.” Eternity is something rather difficult for us to comprehend, yet as we ponder it, we may find that it brings us a sense of peace and assurance that God is far greater and wiser than we are.
In verses three and four we read this, “You return man to dust and say, ‘Return, O children of man!’ For a thousand years in your sight are but as yesterday when it is past, or a watch in the night.” The lifespan of human beings is relatively brief. We’re told that “the years of our life are seventy, or if due to strength, eighty.” Yet, those years are “swept away like a flood.” They’re “like a dream” that we try to remember, and “like the grass which flourishes in the morning, but fades and withers in the evening.”
We’re told that the years of our life end like a “sigh” (verse nine). As we grow older we may sigh when we get up in the morning, or perhaps when come to the close of the day. The King James Version translates the verse this way, “We spend our years as a tale that is told.” They are like a story in that it has a beginning and an end. It has chapters that are happy and some that are sad. Some that make us laugh and others, cry. But it is our story, a story that hopefully includes a time when you encountered God in your life and came to know him in a personal way.
Another verse which brings us some wise counsel for our lives is verse twelve. “So teach us to number our days, that we may present to you a heart of wisdom.” True wisdom is to realize how fleeting life is and that we need to live our lives wisely. We need to make the most of the time we have on this earth, living with the priority of pleasing the Lord who made us for his himself, and for his glory. May we find ourselves praying, as the psalmist did: “Satisfy us in the morning with your steadfast love, that we may rejoice and be glad all of our days,” (Psalm 90:14).
Prays Together is a rotating faith-based commentary and advice column among the pastors, and guest laypeople, of area churches.
This column is not a news article but the opinion of the writer and does not reflect the views of The Sun-Gazette newspaper.