I was shaken when I left his house. He had been sick for some time, and the end was now near. He feared death. He was full of questions. Though I presented him God’s answer for sin and death, the message never could eclipse the fear as he spent his last hours in terror.
I could not get that picture of his face out of my mind when I arrived at my office. That is a cruel thing about death; life keeps going. Time does not stop for all even when it stops for one.
Pretty soon, however, the picture was eclipsed by a sound. It was a familiar sound, but on that day, there was something unfamiliar about it. It was the clock on my wall. It normally made a rhythmic ticking noise. It was nothing distracting; in fact, it was normally barely noticeable. But something happened on this day. The sweet ticking sound was replaced with a sonic boom. Every tick of the clock seemed to thunder forth and fill up the room.
As I sat in my chair, a thought filled my mind. The second that just passed will never pass by again. The time that I just spent is spent forever, and I can never get it back.
With an almost sense of desperation, I opened my Bible to search for clarity and to hear the voice of my God. In a matter of moments, my eyes landed on Psalm 90:12, which says, “So teach us to number our days that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” Message received.
We are only here for a limited time. Each second of the day that passes is a second wasted or invested. There is something clarifying that comes with this realization. There is a sense of focus this insight brings.
A firm realization of the brevity of life shaped one of America’s greatest theologians. As a young man, Johnathon Edwards wrote several “Resolutions” that become guiding principles of his life. There are a couple that ring with the truth of Psalm 90:12. One says, “Resolved, to live with all my might, while I do live.” Another is similar. “Resolved, never to do anything, which I should be afraid to do, if I expected it would not be above an hour before I should hear the last trump.”
From that day forward, I have hoped that this clarity and this focus will mark my life. I want to live, laugh, and love like today may be my last day.