Our culture is not very patient. Anything that makes us wait is an irritation. We like drive up windows, fast food, express lines, and anything that gives us a little edge on getting through our list of things do more quickly. We fill our lives up with media, messaging, and multi-tasking. We race from one end of our day to the other without a moment to pause and think about what we are doing or why we are doing it.
What is up with this torrential flurry we find ourselves in each day? Are we so afraid that if we don’t cram every minute of our day with activity we will fade from existence? Is the crazy busyness of modern life what makes us feel alive or is it actually killing us? The psalmist expresses an interesting perspective on this:
O 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 handbreadths, and my lifetime is as nothing before you. Surely all mankind stands as a mere breath! (Psalm 39:4-5)
At first this seems kind of depressing. If we feel really busy, we feel needed, we feel important. We forget about the approach of death. But the psalmist lays it out there pretty clearly. We are fleeting. We are short lived and insignificant before God and the universe. That is clearly true. There is no hiding it. Even if our racing produces fame and wealth it does not change the overall truth about our short lives. As the psalmist says:
Surely a man goes about as a shadow! Surely for nothing they are in turmoil; man heaps up wealth and does not know who will gather! (Psalm 39:6)
But this does not have to be bad news. God has been clear about the fact that he has a continuing plan for us. In Jesus Christ, God has done something really incredible about our long-term potential. What seemed like a really short time to live suddenly becomes only a short time to wait for God to fulfill the promises he has made about our future with him. Since we don’t like waiting this actually turns out to be good news. It is the kind of news that can make a big difference in the way we live our lives right now. We can discover true joy with the psalmist as we say, “Why wait Lord, we’ve got what we need right now. Our hope is in you!”