I am sure we have all experienced similar unsettling feelings over the past few weeks, where the world as we know it has seemed to change overnight. This change hasn’t just been on a massive world-wide scale, but it has filtered right down to our daily, everyday routine and living. In a short space of time we have had to re-arrange, plan differently, learn new skills (and fast), and adjust to solitude. All of this comes with a very strange, new pace to life. We have been given much time for deep reflection, and, if we are honest, overwhelming anxiety.
In my whirlwind of thoughts and uncertainties the other day, Psalm 90 gave me such encouragement and focus. A few key verses grabbed a hold of me and gave me much peace and comfort, reminding me anew of the things that are most important in this time. They also gave me hope for when things return to ‘normal’ again.
“Lord, through all the generations You have been our home! 2 Before the mountains were created, before the earth was formed, You are God without beginning or end. 3 You speak, and man turns back to dust. 4 A thousand years are but as yesterday to You! They are like a single hour![a] 5-6 We glide along the tides of time as swiftly as a racing river and vanish as quickly as a dream. We are like grass that is green in the morning but mowed down and withered before the evening shadows fall. 7 We die beneath Your anger; we are overwhelmed by Your wrath. 8 You spread out our sins before You—our secret sins—and see them all. 9 No wonder the years are long and heavy here beneath Your wrath. All our days are filled with sighing. 10 Seventy years are given us! And some may even live to eighty. But even the best of these years are often empty and filled with pain; soon they disappear, and we are gone. 11 Who can realise the terrors of Your anger? Which of us can fear You as he should? 12 Teach us to number our days and recognise how few they are; help us to spend them as we should. 13 O Jehovah, come and bless us! How long will You delay? Turn away Your anger from us. 14 Satisfy us in our earliest youth with Your loving-kindness, giving us constant joy to the end of our lives. 15 Give us gladness in proportion to our former misery! Replace the evil years with good. 16 Let us see Your miracles again; let our children see glorious things, the kind You used to do, 17 and let the Lord our God favour us and give us success. May He give permanence to all we do.”
In a world of such chaos, heartache and uncertainty, isn’t it a great comfort to know that before the mountains were created, God existed? That He has no beginning and no end? That in the greater scheme of life itself, we have such few and fleeting moments here on the earth? This Psalm talks about those years often being ones of ‘emptiness and pain’. Are you able to relate to this? Soon our time is up, and we become but dust once more. We are encouraged in this Psalm to really ask God to teach us to:
“number our days and recognise how few they are; help us to spend them as we should.”
This makes me think of the word “Opportunity”. Many people in this time are just trying to survive. The goal is to make it through with as few bruises and cuts as possible. Yet God tells us to learn how to number our days. In Ephesians 5:15-17 Paul tells us to make the best use of the time because the days are evil. We are exhorted to understand God’s will and not be caught up in peripherals. God wants us to thrive, not just survive. He wants us to devote ourselves to what is important and spend our days as we should. In this unstable situation, we must come right back to asking the Lord to teach us to number our days. We must realise that they are so few and put aside the weight of fear and worry. Let us seek Him for what He would have us do, so that when we are turned to dust, He May give permanence to all we do.
Lord Jesus, if I am truly honest, I am filled with worry and fear; I am fearful of Covid-19, illness, finances, safety, my work situation, and all of the other personal worries of a parent. In essence, I am afraid and fearful of the future. The future is scary, the future is uncertain, and the future is a place my mind goes to too often; a place where I have no control.
Much is unknown right now and my head is spinning. Yet in that You still ask of us to number our days and spend them on what really matters most, on what really counts, on serving You and Your kingdom.
Help me and help us all to lift our heads up and beyond our situations (personal and worldwide), and to Zoom (^_^) in on what You need us to do NOW. May we focus on the work You would have us do in this time and trust You to take care of the rest. Free us from fear and uncertainty and the wide and vast unknowns of the future. Help us to see what You need us to see. Work on us. Work on our hearts in this time; show us our sin, our own selfishness and faults, so that this time may not be wasted but be of eternal worth.
Lord, help me to see You and to know You more. Make our paths, our futures and our plans straight. Show us the way to walk in.
In Jesus’ name. Amen.