He's a boy who's usually too busy for cuddles. So when he stands in front of me, tired from swimming, wrapped in his beach towel and asks, "Can I sit with you?" I quickly pull him close before he changes his mind. We sit quietly, he and I, watching the waves swell and then break in soothing rhythm. The cool, refreshing wind travels from across the water and, before long, my son relaxes into the softness of sleep.
Careful not to wake him, I softly trace the contours of his face with my hand, noticing how much this little guy has changed. A wave of sadness swells. I hold him close, wishing there was some way to pause time, to hold on to this moment.
No matter how tightly we hold on, the moments pass as quickly as they arrive.
Life's rhythm is predictable, and no matter how tightly we cling to any moment, time will swell and then break. The waves rise, then fall; the sun rises, then sets; we are born, we live, then we die.
We're expectant with the swelling promise of summer. But even as we enjoy a long awaited season, it is already almost over. "Hello, hello. Goodbye, goodbye. That's all there is. And the leaves that are green turn to brown" (Simon and Garfunkle). No matter how tightly we hold on, the moments pass as quickly as they arrive.
And we feel it, don't we? We ache with the briefness, the brevity of life.
In the sweet seasons, the ache is bittersweet; time is moving along, and we'll never return to the goodness that is right now. In the dark or painful seasons, the seasons of waiting, the awareness that life is quickly passing is all the more acute because lingering within is that question: When, Lord? How long, Lord?
Have we considered that the One who causes each wave to rise and fall and each day to come and go is the same One who designed us to have eternity stamped in our hearts? When we feel the sadness of our quickly passing life, sometimes our instinct is to dismiss these feelings of sorrow into a tidy, cute category that we call sentimentality. But what if, far from it being merely sentimental, these feelings are actually our Creator whispering to us, teaching us about Himself, teaching us about the brevity of our lives.
About this very thing, Moses writes,
"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." (Ps. 90:10)
When we feel that oh-so-familiar ache, we shouldn't casually shrug it off into a category of sentimentality. It is God Himself who has placed eternity in the human heart. Through His Word, lovingly cautions us to consider the brevity of our lives. These feelings, these pangs, these aches—they're from Him!
At the end of his song about the quickly passing nature of life, Moses concludes with these words,
"Let the favor of the Lord our God be upon us, and establish the work of our hands; yes, establish the work of our hands!"
What is your response? When you feel the ache of mortality, do you simply resolve to work harder to make your life count? Or do you look to Christ, the eternal hope, and pray these words along with Moses: "Lord, take my life—my quickly passing life—and use me. Yes, Lord, use me!"