I was mute and slient, I held my peace to no avail and my distress grew worse.
My heart became hot within me. As I mused, the fire burned, then I spoke with my tongue:
"Oh Lord, 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 handbreaths, and my lifetime is as nothing before you.
Surely all mankind stands as a mere breath! Surely a man goes about as a shadow!
Surely for nothing they are in turmoil; a man heaps up wealth but knows not who will gather!
And now, O Lord, for what do I wait? My hope is in you. Deliver me from all my transgressions!
Last night as we were getting ready for bed, Dan opened up to me and started to share the things that were on his heart. He began by saying how short life really is and how scary it is to think about how quickly our lives can change. (Don't you love how these light topics flood our minds just as we are trying to fall asleep?) He shared his fears about the unknown and all of the scary things in our world: sickness and pain, violence and hate. It is no secret that we live in a broken and sinful world; after all, we are broken and sinful beings, but a world of pain was not God's design. He created the world to be a perfect paradise filled with love and fellowship with Himself and one another. Man was not around for more than 10 minutes (my own interpretation) before we really screwed things up by thinking that life would be "better" if only we were in control- if we took matters into our own hands, thus beginning our lifelong struggle with selfishness and pride and our desire to have things that cannot be attained by human effort. We were not created to carry the weight of the world or to live under these burdens- God had a different design- it's no wonder that pain and fear are two things we will never be able to truly manage; they will always feel foreign to us.
Until we really come to grips with the fact that all of our effort to control, contain, and categorize the world around us is in vain, we will be held captive to the power of fear. Not one of us knows the number of our days or how long we will have to live on this earth, but regardless of our personal convictions or spirituality, we are all aware of how delicate and fleeting life truly is. By nature we long to have a sense of purpose, of meaning, and so often we chase after worldly things in hopes of feeling the satisfaction of success. But until we realize that our jobs, money, homes, and hobbies are not the means to an end but rather tools, gifts, that have been loaned to us as means to the beginning, we will never find peace. Time, talents, and resources are not meant to be stored up and stowed away, but spent, invested into our relationships and making the world around us better than when we found it. The Lord lead Dan to Psalm 39 last night and he read it over until he fell asleep. It's not a prayer about giving our life a sense of purpose and helping us to better manage our days- it's simply a prayer asking the Lord to remind us how fleeting our days here on earth really are, so that we may seize each moment and cherish every day as a gift, and another chance. Another chance to be a better friend, a more caring sister, a more thoughtful daughter, a more loving spouse. Another chance to forgive and ask forgiveness as we are all deeply in debt to the grace we have been given.
We can all finally stop trying to conquer fear- The Lord has already done that! At the sound of his voice (a whisper!) chaos and darkness is stilled. Chaos- our earthly nemesis- does not scare God... in fact, he "hovered" over it peacefully before the world as we know it even existed (Genesis 1:2). What did Jesus say to the "chaos" and darkness of the water as waves were trying to consume the disciple's boat? "Shut your mouth!" (Mark 4:39). So enough worrying about tomorrow, or even today! Enough (Hailey!) worrying about our jobs, money, homes, health, and relationships! It's time to seize the day and find joy in all of the blessings we are surrounded by, pursue love and invest in growing into the best women, men, children, spouses, workers, friends, and family members we can be. Now take a deep breath. Let go. Doesn't that feel better?