So, as is becoming typical it seems, with the setting sun came a heart in panic. Terrell and I have just embarked on what may be yet another great change for our family, and it has sounded nice by the pool and in the sunshine, but before it is really even more than a daydream I am having buyer’s remorse. “No no no! That is crazy! We can’t give up THIS for THAT! I mean seriously, there has got to be an end to this madness, right? Somewhere along the way we have surely lost perspective and most definitely have stepped off of the planet of reality, right? Help!” And so goes my inner monologue as I lay beside my children to help them settle to sleep. Then God brought to mind the passing of another year of my life, which brings about both reflection and perspective. Then, being God, He thought to give me real perspective:
Show me, O LORD, my life’s end and the number of my days; let me know how fleeting is my life. Psalm 39:4
Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom. Psalm 90:12
If there is one technical Biblical interpretation I learned in seminary, it is that “wisdom” in all the wisdom literature of the Bible is referring to Jesus. Jesus is wisdom. I’ve always used the word wisdom to reference fiscal responsibility or physical safety. “Is it wise?” has always had more to do with my future prosperity and health from a given decision than whether or not it will help me to see Jesus more fully, vividly, or tangibly. I’m not sure I’ve ever once used the question to mean “Is it Jesus?” and I guess that shows my lack of wisdom!(: The panic I was experiencing moments ago wasn’t about fear of not seeing Jesus or concern that this next decision might obscure Jesus to my children, but it was about giving up yet another known, familiar and secure place for an unknown, unfamiliar and uncertain one.
Does Jesus only dwell in the unfamiliar and uncertain? Of course not. He is with us always and delights to hem us in, to give us good things, to provide feasts for celebrations and beach houses for vacations. But with what I might imagine as a twinkle in His eye, He wants to give us more than that too. He is committed to giving us the fullness of Himself, wisdom.
Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death— even death on a cross! Phil. 2:5-8
Hmmm…clearly my attitude is nothing like “that of Christ Jesus”. For starters, making myself nothing may on one hand sound sexy and adventurous for about a minute, but that minute is so that I can make myself something, if I’m honest. Taking the very nature of a servant? Well sure, if I get to be known as the one who condescended to make myself a servant, when I didn’t have to, because everyone knows I’m much more important than that, and really so awesome to even attempt to be so servantish. Obedient to death? Nope.
But what if wisdom, the person and work of Jesus alive in me, replacing my sin nature with His nature, began to show me “how fleeting is my life”? And what if the fleeting nature of my days wasn’t simply about “the end is near” or “carpe diem” but that THE DAY is near? And what if the Day and all the glorious days which will follow became more of what I lived this day for and about than, well, all these perishable associations and achievements in these fleeting days? (Matt. 6:19-20)
No longer will there be any curse. The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and his servants will serve him. They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. There will be no more night. They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will give them light. And they will reign for ever and ever. Rev. 22:3-5
What if it’s not that I’m a candle in the wind or anything similarly useless and insignificant, but rather that the fleeting nature of this engagement period, so to speak, makes it’s sacrifices pale in comparison to the wedding and marriage to come? What if I develop a heart of wisdom that enables me to see my fleeting days not as the time for investing in my reign but His, in which He then includes me? Oh, unlike Paul, my short-sightedness still has me considering worldly gains something I can’t lose and I’m honestly afraid to give up. Oh may the surpassing greatness of knowing Him make me one day truly consider them all a loss! But He will teach me to number my days, He will dress me in His own righteous acts so I am not left standing in my worldly gained fig leaves, He will develop in me a heart that looks a whole lot like Him…even if I have to wait through these fleeting days to finally know as I am known.
All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance. And they admitted that they were aliens and strangers on earth. People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own. If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return. Instead, they were longing for a better country—a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them. Hebrews 11:13-16
Then I heard what sounded like a great multitude, like the roar of rushing waters and like loud peals of thunder, shouting: “Hallelujah! For our Lord God Almighty reigns. Let us rejoice and be glad and give him glory! For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and his bride has made herself ready. Fine linen, bright and clean, was given her to wear.” (Fine linen stands for the righteous acts of the saints.) Rev. 19:6-8