Four years ago, in January of 2015, my father-in-law passed away. Each year, my wife and I connect with Heather’s mom, siblings and spouses for a special dinner to remember Jim’s life. This particular season, I have been a little bit more sensitive as I have reflected on several friends and relatives that have recently passed away. Also, there was one extraordinary life that gained national attention for his fight against cancer, Tyler Trent. The big take-away for me over the last few weeks is the brevity of life. Life is short. Here, I try to make more sense of the brevity of life and how to make the most of our lives.
Psalm 90:9 states, “For all our days are passed away in thy wrath: we spend our years as a tale that is told.” In this passage our lives are likened to a book that is written or a tale that is told. A good book or tale will have colorful characters, a plot with direction that seems to go somewhere, a little drama, a level of conflict, a happily ever after at the end. There may be some violence, passion, emotion, suspense, a twist in the story, something unexpected, resolution, redemption, and even eloquent words that draw a reader in.
Psalm 90:9 states, “For all our days are passed away in thy wrath: we spend our years as a tale that is told.”
James 4:14 declares, “Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist (a vapor) that appears for a little while and then vanishes.” The years of your life can be compared to chapters of a book. You might be at the beginning of you book, in the vitality of your youth. Or you might be in the middle of your book, in your middle years. However, you might be nearing the end of your book with few pages left.
By God’s grace, with the beginning of 2019, the next chapter of your life is beginning to unfold. You have closed the last chapter of 2018, and a new chapter, a new year, is beginning. God is the author, and He has given you the ability to coauthor this book, your life, with Him.
Learn to turn the page. Chapters that are finished need to be left behind. Do not dwell on that last chapter. Turn the page. Yes, it might be engrained in your memory, but you cannot change the previous page. Life comes with ups and downs. Do not let negativity bleed into the next page or chapter. Purpose in your heart not to remember the sin, the hurt, or the pain. Think on what is real and good and true. Sometimes your book, your life, may seem like a mystery only to be solved in later chapters.
Maintain a positive expectancy about the next chapter of your life in 2019. You might be thinking, “My life is like a tragedy. I am not expecting anything good.” Do not let it become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Keep a positive outlook and perspective. There will be blue skies ahead. God’s mercies are new every morning.
Write the new chapter, this next year, on purpose. You have a fresh page, a fresh start. What was the highlight of 2018, your last chapter? Did you see a spectacular sunrise, marry the man or woman of your dreams, witness the birth of a baby, land a job that had you over the moon? This new year, you have pages to fill. Notice the ordinary. Notice the extraordinary. Notice those around you. Look to see what God is doing. He allows all things for your good and His glory.
You will not be able to choose all of the circumstances in each chapter, each year of your life, but you can choose how you will respond. Romans 8:35 asks, “What shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?” Romans 8:37 reminds us, “No, in all these things we are more than conquerers”. Whatever circumstance you may be going through, whatever chapter you are in, you are more than a conquerer through Christ Jesus! We have a hope and a promise in Christ Jesus.
Whatever circumstance you may be going through, whatever chapter you are in, you are more than a conquerer through Christ Jesus!
Every book has an end. THE END. You do not know when! You do not know how many chapters your book will have. This year may be your last chapter. This day may be your last page. You might not be expecting your life to come to a close. Yet, you must be prepared for the end. I hope somewhere in your story, in a chapter of your life, you have personally bowed your knee to Jesus. The end is real. Do you have a personal relationship with God through Jesus Christ? Do you remember when that happened? If you do not have a personal relationship with God, that page can be written today. He loves you and created you to know Him, to love Him and to enjoy Him.