Psalm 90:10 The days of our years are threescore years and ten; and if by reason of strength they be fourscore years, yet is their strength labour and sorrow; for it is soon cut off, and we fly away.
Psalm 90:12 So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.
In CREATIVE COUNTERPART, a book mentioned in my last post, the author shares a story about a woman who decided to count up the number of days she’d have left on the earth if she were to live to be 70. Today I’m officially 24 years old, and I decided to try the excersize in honor of the event. Forty-six years sounds like a lot more than a mere 16,801.5 days, doesn’t it? Especially since – as we’ve been so potently reminded by recent world events – there’s no guarantee of having them! And, this time last year, I had over 17,000 days… In another 20 years, there won’t even be 10,000 days left in the countdown. It’s a somewhat sobering thought.
I had an interesting discussion with my friend Tomania the other night about the fear of death. Some people fear the process itself (I think I fall into this category). Some people fear the “not knowing” of what eternity will be like, feel like, consist of actually (we live on so many time tables now). Some people fear where they’ll spend that eternity because they have no confidence in Christ or no promise of Heaven in their works-based religions. Some people fear extinction; they fear being forgotten, obliterated, or proven unimportant. As a Christian, I needn’t fear, though I confess that I sometimes do. Mostly, though, I suppose I fear totally wasting my life. As Christians, we have the priviledge not only to immensley enjoy every aspect of life, from meaningful relationships to communal suffering, but to also grab hold of a purpose in this life: reconciled to God through His Son, Jesus Christ, we are set free to enjoy and glorify Him forever. The promise of meeting Him at the end of all things temporal casts out substantial fears and replaces them with wonderful expectation and anticipation. But these are priviledges and promises we must claim, first of all by knowing Him, even through our glasses, darkly, and then by following Him in a way that renders real meaning and purpose to our lives. And here I’m convicted by my own words: for how much better could I know Him and how much further by now might I have followed Him, had I not taken for granted the 8,000-some-odd days I’ve had so far? If I hadn’t spent 3-4 hours a day in front of the television (and that’s a conservative estimate, for much of my life)? If I hadn’t glutted myself on sleep (we already spend 1/3 of our lives in sleep as it is)? If I’d spent my waking hours reaching out instead of keeping in? If I’d applied my heart unto wisdom, instead of unto satisfying my flesh?
Gwen’s blog includes in its sidebar a countdown to its owner’s swift-approaching graduation. I wonder how much richer and spiritually productive my life would be if I were to literally number my days and post my own countdown to eternity? Not to motivate me to good works, per se, for only God’s love and and grace can authentically do so; but to remind me that I am indeed providentially scheduled to see my Savior face to face, possibly sooner than later. Won’t I seek to know Him in the meantime? To prepare to meet the heavenly Lover of my soul, as a bride prepares herself with love and anticipation to finally meet her earthly lover as her husband? One wonders if, in doing so, 16,801.5 days might eventually seem like too long to wait.