These walls held raucous laughter only a few hours ago, but now as everything is quiet, and I pick up the remains of delightful mayhem, the tears begin to slide. My daughter’s family has started their long trek home, all four little ones tucked safely inside their extremely packed vehicle. All the other family and friends have gone home. It’s just me and LeRoy again and the house feels too silent.
As I pick up discarded Christmas bags and boxes, strip sheets from beds and roll up sleeping bags, I recount the many conversations, the Christmas cookies decorated, the bedtime stories read, and silly songs shared. I treasure the sweet memories made this week. It is times like this that life’s fleeting nature presses in with a greater intensity.
Love and life’s brevity can be so painful.
I want to still-frame these moments and keep these little ones frozen in place. So hard to watch them grow up so quickly. How does time travel so fast?
The Christmas events brought much of our new “not normal” life to a brief stand still. The calls I made to doctor’s offices and infusion centers the week before Christmas have not been returned, I’m sure many offices have been closed throughout much of the past week and some even this week. Our faithful local PCP hasn’t let up looking for an infusion center that will take LeRoy, he’s waiting on return calls as well.
And so we wait.
And we pray that we will remain faithful in the wait.
Time travels quickly as we watch the little ones grow, but waiting travels slowly.
Waiting seems to be a pattern of training that God likes to use in our lives. It’s an instructive discipline. Since the fall of man, waiting has been a constant. But long before “waiting” became a possibility, God existed in the eternal, and I find great comfort in knowing that He has always been . . . there is never a time when He was not. He has always been, and forever will be, the Great “I Am.”
In this waiting season, the eternal God has an instructive word for us in Psalm 90:
Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever you had formed the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God. (v. 2)
My mind can’t wrap itself around understanding this great mystery, but my heart can. How do I know He has always been here? How am I assured that He is the “I Am” that is unceasing, that is self-existent, and self-sustaining? Because of the witness of His Spirit that He sent to lead us into all truth and that resides within His own to reveal and confirm His reality. Because of the reliability of His Word and the revelation of Himself through His Son.
His Spirit bears witness to us of His eternal nature.
Trusting in the fact that He knows the end from the beginning, that nothing takes Him by surprise or disturbs His plan . . . that He exists outside the limited unit we call “time” . . . brings confidence and complete rest.
What should our response be when faced with the unknowns of our future?
Let’s see what the Word says. Psalm 90 is a great instructive device to readjust our focus from the temporal to the eternal:
You return man to dust and say, “Return, O children of man!” For a thousand years in your sight are but as yesterday when it is past, or as a watch in the night. (vv. 3–4)
It is a good thing to continually remind ourselves that we are mere dust. We can easily get caught up in the frantic pace of life, the deadlines, and press reports . . . we can become so enamored with “Today!” that we push aside any thought of eternity. Picking up the remains of our Christmas celebration is a good reminder that time here is passing quickly, and how we spend the few moments or years we’re given is a valuable commodity.
As physical beings who house the Spirit of the living God, we operate in two realms, but the Spirit realm and eternity should always be at the forefront of our heart, mind, and actions.
Psalm 103 tells us that our days are like grass; and James warns us that our lives are like a vapor short-lived and soon over. The fleeting nature of this life is a compelling reason to live for more, to place greater value on preparing for our future residence than our temporary one.
What should we do in times of waiting?
We need to recognize that all of this life is a period of waiting. We are all waiting for this brief span to be completed before entering the doorway to the eternal. We are given these few days to prepare for that realm, to carry out the mission and purpose for our lives in this realm in order to hear the greeting on that day: “Well done, good and faithful servant.”
We are given this fleeting and momentary span to take part in filling the earth with His glory.
Thus the instructive admonition in Psalm 90:
“So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom.” (v.12)
God wants us to apply ourselves to understanding the brevity of life, and in the moments He has allowed us, to intentionally pursue living out the good works He has planned for us. In other words, it is as though God is saying in this verse, “Don’t waste your life!”
As I write this post, on a frigid day with a dark December sky, I’m reflecting on the period of waiting before the first Advent. Four thousand long years of darkness, while humanity waited, held in bondage under the weight of the fall, subjected to the tyranny of the evil one’s reign, all of creation was waiting. Waiting for the Redeemer, the Savior, the Deliverer to appear. God had not forgotten His covenant. He had not forsaken His own.
God waited as well.
He waited as time ripened, matured, and in the fullness of time, on the night appointed, the Son entered our world as a babe.
God’s people grew weary in their waiting, but their “expected One” would come in God’s perfect timing.
“But when the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law, so that He might redeem those who were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption as sons. Galatians 4:4-5
Some may have given up hope, turned their hearts away with impatience, others grew cold and cynical—convinced the Promised One must’ve only been a child’s hope, only a fleeting dream, the wait had grown so long.
But they were wrong. He knew He would come. He waited for the perfect time to come.
And in the fullness of time, eternal God invaded time.
He came. He brought deliverance. He stayed true to His Word. And He has not changed.
May our time spent in the waiting period be filled with waiting that is faithful and fruitful.
May we all recognize the brevity of life and spend our moments well.