Class gets slow at times in the semester, particularly now in the weary middle of things. Today, my medieval teacher was dissecting lines of Middle English for over 45 seconds, so I turned to my comfortable habit of blankly staring out the tall window beside my chair. Sometimes these stares are mindless, but sometimes I let my imagination out for a gallop about the things I see.
Two stories below sweater-ed students are marching to class under the frowns of the clouds and swirling gusts of leaves. How many people have I seen that I'll never know, to whom I'll never speak, who live their lives in this same time and space. Staring out the window get's me thinking about that sorta stuff, about how so often we enter people's lives as a mere glance, word, or smile, a small ripple on the surface of a deep, eternal well, and we'll never cross paths again. We are blessed to delve deeply, to walk a long road with just a few in the sea of faces, with those we call friends and family. That'll make you wonder, wonder who these strangers and friends will become, for we are progressing in one of two directions daily, toward or from God. It strikes my mind as I look upon the marchers, so distant, that we are all changing and changing each other. One day that laughing girl in crocs will look back and realize how she changed? Will she find herself kinder or crueler, humble or proud? What will that smirking freshman boy be like when he grows wrinkled and bent, when he cradles his first grand baby in roughened hands, eyes sparkling, what'll he be like then? How will these passers have spent the days? And in college, you began to realize how quickly the seasons are skipping away from you. You become no longer a child with all the options of your days spreading out ahead in dreamy sunlight. You have now crested the hill and know a taste of the days and decisions to come.
Will these walking below, full of vision and ideology and countless episodes of Netflix, will they become the shriveled souls that I passed in the nursing home hallway? Will I?
What will my friends be like in twenty years? Who will have wandered, and who will have pursued the Lord with all their heart?Who will be gone from these mortal fields, from these long and restless corridors?
Is time cascading us into despair or are we jumping up and up into joy? As for me, I sure sound somber right now. I think sometimes I shift into a tilted perspective, into inaccurate accounting and sadness about all these passing people and my own passing life because I do not remember the steadfast love and sovereignty of the King who reigns above.
If the Lord remembers even the sparrows and watches over them, than how much more does he care for us? Life is so fleeting that I want to cry at times. And it is also so exhausting that I want to have already finished the race, to have run the course and gained my rest. But whether its worrying over life speeding by or creeping along, the Lord of time presides over it all. We do not run our race apart from his interference and love. A perspective of a person's life that does not include the joy of Jesus, the reality of Christ and His power is lacking the most elemental truth. Every person in the sea of faces breathes because God crafted them in His image. They are valuable and known and seen by Him.
How wild, the sheer number of people and stories that the Lord easily orchestrates! He is weaving all our lives together into a wondrous tapestry of glory, to bring praise to Him. Not a one person is forgotten.
I get overwhelmed thinking about just the small decisions of my own life, just planning my own hours, but God, He is sovereign over all! That's whack. .. That's whack, and God is great. All these passing people and flying leaves remind me to use the days well, for our time here is short, and all these days, they are His: gifts! Let us not waste that which is the Lord's, especially our lives! Will you look back on earth in eternity and have regrets about how you spent ransomed time. We have been redeemed and called to live with purpose and joy. Jesus didn't die for us to eek out our lives in a sad lump, but to sing His name in the streets. Youse, college kids, do not waste your youth!
They'll probably come days when we who are now in the rosy glow of life shall need a cane to move, a button hanging round our necks in place of a trendy necklace, slippers on our feet instead of platforms, tubes running out of our noses, and shaking hands in place of a confident grip.
In the midst of wide-eyed chaos, are we awake to how our allotted hours slip away?
Like the flash of camera, time will seem to snap. You'll pick up a photo from high school that feels like it was taken a week ago, and you'll wonder how the minutes snuck out of the house, slipped out of the light.
God wants us to live intentionally, to live in meditation on His word and as an offering to him. Our bodies are brief living sacrifices, meant to be burned up in the beauty. Don't miss it out on wonderful adventures, striking out against God in heaven with a staff to take your own crooked path. Time will soon be over, and the best of it will begin. I want but fail to spend life like the free gift it is, as a crinkled leaf on God's autumn wind.
At this point in the narrative, the plot has gotten as chaotic as it was in my head, but I'd like to share a verse:
"Remember your Creator in the days of your youth,
before the days of adversity come,
and the years approach of which you will say,
"I find no pleasure in them,"
before the light of the sun, moon, and stars is darkened,
and the clouds return after the rain,
on the day the keepers of the house tremble,
and the strong men stoop,
when those grinding cease because they are few,
and those watching through windows see dimly,
when the doors to the street are shut
and the sound of the mill fades away,
when one rises at the sound of a bird
and all the daughters of song grow faint,
when men fear the heights and dangers of the road,
when the almond tree blossoms,
the grasshopper loses its spring,
and the caper berry shrivels—
for then man goes to his eternal home,
and mourners walk the streets.
Remember Him before the silver cord is snapped,
and the golden bowl is crushed,
before the pitcher is shattered at the spring,
and the wheel is broken at the well,
before the dust returns to the ground from which it came,
and the spirit returns to God who gave it." - Ecclesiastes 12
Passing people and time are precious, but even more pre-eminent is the God is does not pass or wither, who is unchanging and eternal and beautiful. On the dawn of eternity, it'll be him whom we gather around in awe and wonder, "casting down our golden crowns around the glassy sea" and bowing every knee. It's not people or time or land, but Emmanuel, who is the only thing worth living and dying for, the only One that lasts.
As a child of God, my body will suffer and wither here, but my soul will be refined, growing lovelier in the light of His continual goodness and grace, and when the stalk of my plant crumbles and the crowd shouts "timber", He'll scoop me up home to His house with a band of angels rocking out in a "sweet chariot." Leastways, that's what they sing at VBS, and a body can hope.