With the sudden loss of one of our own today, a flood of thoughts has swept through my mind and heart. One reminded me of the words of him who suffered grievous loss in Job 7:6 – My days are swifter than a weaver’s shuttle. I’ve never seen it in action, but I rather guess an accomplished weaver can fly on his shuttle. For those acquainted with such things the word picture must have drove the truth home with added force.
Turns out Job returns to this theme a lot in the book. Job 7:7 – Remember that my life is but a breath. Job 9:25-26 – Now my days are swifter than a runner; they flee away, they see no good. They slip by like reed boats, like an eagle that swoops on its prey. Job 14:1-2 – Man, who is born of woman, is short-lived and full of turmoil. Like a flower he comes forth and withers. He also flees like a shadow and does not remain. There is nothing like the staggering blow of grief to bring the brevity of life into exacting focus.
How should we live in light of such truth? First, we should avoid presumption about the future and subjugate all our dreams and plans to the sovereign will of God. James 4:13-15 says, Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow, we shall go into such and such a city, and spend a year there and engage in business and make a profit.” Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away. Instead, you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we shall live and also do this or that.”
Second, we must learn to keep affliction in perspective against the backdrop of eternity’s endless ages. We learned this from 2 Cor. 4:17 – For this slight momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison.
Third, we should pray for grace to make every day count so that whatever the duration of our years we go before the King with more wisdom than folly. Consider Psalm 90:10-12 – The years of our life are seventy, or even by reason of strength eighty; yet their span is but toil and trouble; they are soon gone, and we fly away. Who considers the power of your anger, and your wrath according to the fear of you? So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom.
Finally, whether our days amount to seventy years or only seven months, we should rest in the decree of God that numbers our days to the precise millisecond. Psalm 139:16 puts it this way: Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written every one of them; the days that were formed for me, when as yet there were none of them.
Life is short. The days are decreed. The griefs are many. The reality is clear: And the world is passing away along with its desires; but whoever does the will of God abides forever (1 John 2:17). Give your days with reckless abandon to the world to come. It will be here before you know it.