Wednesday, June 3, 2009

The Gift of the Moment in Light of the Hope of Eternity

We are not long here…I was listening to a song yesterday as I was mowing my yard. It was about this beautiful, broken world. It said, “Would the day still be as sweet if it had no end?”

Frailty of flesh….transitory lives…..dying daily.

I turned 27. I don’t feel 27. I don’t look 27. But I am 27. Some call this young. Others call it old. In the span of eternity, three years is the same as 27 years is the same as 95 years. In the indefinite nature of time, one hundred years is nothing.

I have lost count of the number of people who say that time seems to go faster as they get older. What makes time seem faster? Perspective? For a person who has more years, a year is relatively smaller than for a person who has fewer years. For a five-year-old, a year consumes one-fifth of the child’s life. For a 60 year old, a year only occupies a brief one-sixtieth of his life. For an eternal Creator, a year is a flash, a millisecond. Literally. How many days have I woken up in the morning to be shocked 16 hours later when I fall into bed at night that 16 hours have passed? How many times have I looked at 8-hour shifts beforehand, dreading the eternity that they will encompass? How many 8-hour shifts have I left, thinking, “Wow, where did the time go?”? Then I think, “Maybe I shouldn’t have wished that shift away.”

Every single vacation has ended, even when I prayed that it would last forever. I anticipated Christmases and birthdays for weeks or months, and in a flash of 24 hours, they were over. The next year comes, with more anticipation, and more time passes. Where does time go? Where does time exist? Can we pause a minute? A second?
My father gave me a beautiful bouquet of flowers for my birthday. In the center is a yellow Gerber daisy. It is surrounded by a host of roses and lilies and various flowers. They are stunning, on display on my kitchen table. Some of the flowers have died, and the petals have fallen onto the table. Others are still alive. As I enjoy them, I find myself feeling a twinge of dread, knowing that tomorrow, more of the flowers will be dead. This time next week, I will have to throw all of them out. I truly wanted to cry today as I watched my flowers die more and more. They are living. Every living thing will die. Every single person alive on this planet at this moment will face death at some point sooner or later, as the Lord tarries. I try to avoid this thought. I shudder at its lack of discrimination. We are not invincible. We are not long here.

Is it possible that our life is but a breath? Is it possible that we were not even made for this world? Why do I crave more if I am only destined to live on this earth, and within at the most 100 years, perish? We know that this earthly body is decaying. Vision and hearing decline. Taste buds loose their keenness. Bones grow porous. Metabolism slows. “It all goes downhill.” Poets capture this process. Doctors witness this process. We all experience this process. We try to deny it. We try to outsmart it. We try botox, good nutrition, supplements, fitness, and other “fountains of youth.” I try to outsmart it. Whenever someone says, “You don’t look older than 16”, inwardly I smile. “Yes,” I think, “that means I have more time…to get my master’s, to get married, to have children, to make up for what I have missed.” But it will come.

I see two facets of this realization. I don’t think it is about becoming depressed, and I am sorry that this has turned somewhat depressing, but tarry with me for a precious moment more. I have been sobered. Life can be squandered and wasted. Days, years, and decades can be spent pursuing comfort or avoiding pain. How long will we walk around this world numbly going through the motions? If every moment is so fleeting, do I really want to spend moments arbitrarily tickling my fleshly cravings? I guess that the writer of Ecclesiastes faced this dilemma. What does it mean to waste our lives? We were created to find pleasure and delight in life in relation to the progressive knowledge and experience of God. If we believe that the pleasures of life are all that exist, we will forever be left dissatisfied. If we taste the sweetness of a watermelon, walk along the shore of a calm stream, watch the sunset over the ocean, enjoy the precious presence of our closest friends, and see that these are only foretastes of the life to come, we will be living in joyful anticipation. All of this is only pointing us to a greater pleasure, and a more perfected wholeness of a life to come—the life that we were made for. We know that though our outer man is decaying day by day, our inner man is being renewed in joy unspeakable. It would lead me into utter despair if I knew that my body was deteriorating but had no perception of another force at work. Though my body deteriorates, my spirit is being strengthened and made more like Christ every day, until the perfect comes when I see Him face-to-face.

Each day is a gift. To live is Christ. Every day is an opportunity to take delight in God and share His delightfulness with all those in our path.

Hasten the day on which I see Him face-to-face. To die is gain. There will be a day of perfection, when I will see Him as He is and when I will be made like Him.

I pray for wisdom to embrace each moment, living in joyful eagerness for the eternal.

1 comment:

  1. You are amazing.
    I needed to read this. Let's fight together to lay hold of everything He has for us and those who surround us today! Love you, twin!