As for man, his days are like grass;
he flourishes like a flower of the field;
for the wind passes over it, and it is gone,
and its place knows it no more.
Occasionally, I read something in the Bible that catches me up short. I have to read it a couple of times in order to process through what is really being said.
This is one of those passages.
It’s a bit like those times when you catch one comment at the completely wrong time in the conversation. We’ve all been there. You walk past a conversation where one person says to another, “Then he picked up his socks and his sandwich and bolted down the fire escape.” You know there’s a story there, possibly something interesting or hilarious, but you’ve only heard this one line. It’s awkward to stop whatever it is you’re doing and interrupt, or even just to stop walking in an attempt to hear something else, anything else of the story. You know, you bend down to retie your shoe because hey, that’s a natural thing to do. Or maybe you stop and start checking your pockets to pretend you’re making sure that really important receipt you’re supposed to turn in at work today is in your pocket.
If I read just those two verses, I could go one of two places and neither is good: despair or hopelessness.
If I read just those two verses, I might wonder whether or not anything in life is actually worth it, whether or not my life an anything other than a vapor.
But, right after these two verses, David proclaims God’s goodness.
But the steadfast love of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear him,
and his righteousness to children’s children,
to those who keep his covenant
and remember to do his commandments.
The LORD has established his throne in the heavens,
and his kingdom rules over all.
There is a great blessing to be had in these moments of despair and hopelessness. When confronted with the reality of life’s brevity, the believer can rest in the fact that God is gracious and merciful to his children, even when it doesn’t seem to be the case. David recognizes God’s goodness toward those who are obedient to his will and that blessing goes beyond one generation to the next, and the next.
Brothers and sisters, we can face uncertainty and mortality because we know our God, the Lord of all creation, loves us steadfastly. He rules everything eternally and yet loves us in our temporal, brief moment of existence. His eternal concerns do not overrule our short-term needs. God doesn’t lose the track of the details for his view of the big picture.
Trust in God’s provision, O Christian.