Moses prayed to God:
“So teach us to count our days
that we may gain a wise heart.”
— Psalm 90:12 (NRSV)
In the rat race that is life in this modern-day world, we find ourselves possibly wondering “How does eternity get a look in with all the worry and fuss going on in me and in everyone else?”
Well, eternity is eternity and it has everything waiting on ‘it’ not the other way around. We would be fools not to acknowledge this truth. Life is a bequest of God and we don’t get one single breath that is not willed by the Lord and bequeathed directly to us.
And still, we waste our time on things of no importance when the things of eternity stand there shouting, “Be of me!” We are forgiven this folly. God knows how broken of sense we are. We are bound to get many details of our lives absolutely wrong.
But overall we can go easier on ourselves by simply noting that numbering our days gives us some sense of perspective.
We cannot achieve what we want to achieve in the day and we push too hard, but we tend not to see how very much can be accomplished over the longer frame of time. But we can be like ants; purposefully believing in and doing a huge legacy of work. And we can imagine ants not being bothered about the day-to-day things that don’t go right—theirs is a longer goal.
Why Settle for Less Than Wisdom?
Wisdom—without sounding narcissistic—should be our very objective, goal and prize. What better theme of our lives is there than wisdom to get the days of our lives right in the general sense.
This is to acknowledge, beforehand, many days will be wasted; many days we’ll feel we’re heading backwards.
It’s also about acknowledging that some days—and some entire seasons of bliss—we will think we’ve got it ‘all together’ before our pride is crushed and we’re brought back to earth. Most days, however, will be replete with the ordinary—we may doubt our very affect in this life. We endure much disillusionment.
Numbering our days is getting their apportionment in perspective.
It’s dropping all sense of ambition, to simply know that the next breath could be the last one, whilst also—at the same time—understanding that our lives (and the effect of our lives) will probably extend far longer than we currently anticipate.
There is a great need these days of life perspective. When we contrast life and our lives with eternity we stand awestruck at what we commonly and mistakenly prioritise. Coming back to the things of God helps us to number our days—in order that we don’t miss the truth that God impels us to know. Numbering our days is the grasp of perspective we all need to live life well.
© 2013 S. J. Wickham.