Time…it’s a merciless taskmaster, isn’t it? When we’re very young, it seems to crawl. The birthday, or Christmas, or the trip to grandma’s—all seem like they will never arrive. All efforts to speed them up fall short. On the other hand, as every senior knows, the longer you live, the faster time seems to move. The appointment you’ve been thinking was next week is suddenly upon you. The bill you were putting off paying is now overdue. The week is just getting started—and oops! You find yourself at the end of it.
Years ago I came up with what I decided is a logical reason for why life feels this way. Think about it. When you were five years old, a year was twenty percent of your life. By the time you reached ten, a year was only ten percent of your life, and at twenty years, it was only four percent. At age fifty, a year is down to only .02 percent of your life. No wonder it seems to flash by more quickly! I’m not sure how scientific that reasoning is, but it makes sense to me.
No wonder God urges us in Scripture to “number” our days (Ps. 90:12). The reason given for that urging is that we might “gain a heart of wisdom.” My, how we all need that!
These days I find myself feeling like the final moments of an egg timer. The sand is moving faster and faster, and the amount in the top half is shrinking visibly. The difference between an egg timer and real life, however, is that in the timer I can always see exactly how much is left. In life I can’t. I have no idea whether God is going to give me five more years, or fifteen—or only five more weeks.
My heart knows that I don’t want to know that number. To know it was short would put immense pressure on me to accomplish things I know I both need and want to do before I check out. If I knew it were long, I’m sure I would find myself stressing about whether my body will serve me that long, what will happen to dear family members—not to mention what might happen in this teetering world.
But the fact that I don’t know beyond this day or hour creates its own kind of stress. All of it waves in my face that one profound word – TRUST!! I admit I’m not doing very well with it these days. I’m not worrying much about “bucket-list” things that so many talk about. I’ve had an incredibly rich and rewarding life. But I do find myself stressing about whether I’m accomplishing the things God wants me to be accomplishing at this time, this year, this month, tomorrow.
Everything in me knows that God has it all under control. He knows exactly what lies ahead. I’m so grateful for that, and I am grateful that I do not know any more than I do. Twelve years ago when I had cancer, we found and posted on our bathroom door a sign that said, “Don’t worry about tomorrow. God is already there.”
We’ve moved to another home in another state, but the sign is still on our bathroom door—only now it’s the bathroom my husband uses. Maybe I need to put it where I can see it even more often.