Psalm 39:4-5, “O YHWH, make me know my end and what is the measure of my days; let me know how fleeting I am! Behold, you have made my days a few handbreadths…”
I can’t think of a time when it is not wise to consider the brevity of life.
When we are surrounded by joys, when we look around the bonfire at night and see the faces of those we love, when we are laughing and celebrating life with the people closest to us, when a child is born, when a memory is made, when a mountain top is scaled–in those moments its good to remember that they will not last. Musing on this reality ought to drive us into life’s sweet moments with more gusto while simultaneously allowing us to hold them with an open hand…..
And when the sorrows come, when the hard times come, when the pain sets in or the prognosis is negative or the budget is constricting or the doubt is encroaching….in those moments too what a blessing it is to remember that “this too shall pass.” That–as I expounded a bit in yesterday’s post–this is not the end. This is a
“light and momentary affliction [preparing for us] an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison as we look not to the things that are seen, but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.” (2 Cor. 4:17-18)
In joy or sorrow, David’s words in Psalm 39 are the salt of wisdom for our lives. But what struck me this morning was the phrase, “handbreaths.” David is essentially saying that, in the grand scheme of things, our life is maybe six inches long…it is a fleeting thing, no longer than two hands set side by side. But whose hands?
Of course David simply intended to point to the commonly accepted measurement of a “handbreadth.” But isn’t it true that our lives, Christian, are measured by the “handbreadths” of the one whose hands were pierced in love for us? Isn’t it true that the fleeting vapor that is our earthly journey is precisely, wisely, sovereignly, and lovingly measured out by hands that bled to bring us home? Isn’t it true that JESUS measures the span of our days with His own hands (John 21:22)?
Yes, our life is fleeting….it is a vapor….so may we embrace the laughter with open arms and endure the weeping with uplifted eyes of hope, because for the Christian, this fleeting life is a journey from Love to Love.