Daring to ask for awareness of our fate.
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“Show me, Lord, my life’s end and the number of my days; let me know how fleeting my life is. You have made my days a mere handbreadth; the span of my years is as nothing before you. Everyone is but a breath, even those who seem secure. Surely everyone goes around like a mere phantom; in vain they rush about, heaping up wealth without knowing whose it will finally be.”
Psalm 39: 4-7 New International Version
The mist in this picture is the snow evaporating off of my roof as the warming sun bade it to rise. I watched for some time while this psalm came to mind.
I doubt that any of us like to be reminded of our mortality, that our days are numbered and we don’t know what that number is. Yet David asked God to keep him aware of the fleeting quality of his life. Why?
It is easy to rely on our own accumulation of comfort and wealth for security. It’s easy to slip into our illusions of control and our own strength to make things better and forget that our life, in the scheme of eternity, is fleeting. However, when we are aware of our limitations, we are driven to be honest with our need for something more solid than ourselves and our temporary fixes.
We ask the important questions. What conclusions did David come to? We find out in verse 8.
“But now, Lord, what do I look for? My hope is in you.
Save me from all my transgressions; do not make me the scorn of fools.”
First, God – the One in control – is the only steadfast security. Second, what we need more than anything is to to be saved from the folly of our sin, to be set apart and holy before a holy God. Only then will we live out the number of our days in prayer and dependence on Him. We understand how crucial it is to be obedient to Him every single day, even if it means great sacrifice. We remember there is another life to come, and how we live this life has weighty consequences for that life.
As our path to the cross shortens in these last few days of Lent, may we be so bold as to make this prayer of David’s our own. We dare do this only for the tremendous hope that we have in Christ, Who is faithful, to lead us through His crucifixion with Him to our resurrection in Him. Praise be to Christ.
Text and Picture Copyright Jennifer Brukiewa