Listen to Your Heart…Underwater!
“In Your book were all written the days that were ordained for me, when as yet there was not one of them.” – Psalm 139:16B
A few weeks ago, I took a tub bath instead of a shower. I wanted to simply soak my muscles in the hot water and relax after a long drawn out day. As I was lying there, I gradually leaned my head back and lowered it into the water to where most of my head was submerged with the exception of my eyes and nose. With my ears under the water, I quietly listened to (and felt) the repetitious vibrations of my heartbeat; tha thump, tha thump, tha thump. As I stared at the ceiling, I thought to myself, “what if my heartbeat suddenly stopped? Furthermore, what guarantee do I have that my heart will be beating five seconds from now?” In that moment I was reminded of the brevity of life, and of how frail and fragile I really am. I became overwhelmed with a sense of helplessness. I knew that my heart functioned only by the grace of God, and at any moment He might will for it to suddenly stop beating. These thoughts led me to ponder the length of my life up to that point. What if God chose to silence the drumbeat of my heart, and I died at the age of thirty-nine? I can just imagine my obituary. It would probably contain phrases like “a life snuffed out in its prime” or “a life cut short.” But if it read that way, it would only be articulating man’s perspective on life. From God’s perspective, my life would have ended right on schedule.
But let’s suppose for a moment that my heart really had stopped beating that night. Even though my life would have been seen as brief in comparison to the average human life expectancy, it is interesting to note that I would have lived a longer life than great men of the faith such as missionaries David Brainerd (1718-1747) and Jim Elliot (1927-1956). I would have lived longer than Columbine High School shooting victim Cassie Bernall (1981-1999) and contemporary Christian musician Keith Green (1954-1982). Even our Lord Jesus lived on this earth for only thirty-three years!
With these thoughts in mind, it would be good for us to remember that God owes us nothing, not even our next heartbeat. Each day is a gracious gift from God. In my fictitious scenario above, God could have instead planned for me a thirty-nine minute life rather than a thirty-nine year life. This is why every moment of life must be seen as a precious drink from the fountain of God’s grace.
In the passage above, our friend King David expressed how God had mapped out his life from start to finish. The precise length of his life had been determined by God. These poetic words serve as a reminder to all of us that our lives are not held in confines of our own hands, but rather in the hands of God. The hands of God are the bookends holding our life story. There is a comfort and assurance we ought to find in this truth as we rest in the palms of God, who is the author of time.
Don’t misunderstand me. It is not that I want to die any time soon. But I am I am ready to die now if that is what God wills. The length of my life does not matter to me. But whether God grants me thirty-nine years or ninety-nine years, I want to live it for the glory of God. My desire is to one day hear my Lord say, “well done my good and faithful servant” (Matthew 25:21). May this be the prayer of your heart as well. Take time out today and think about your life, and if you need to take a bath to ponder upon these things, then do so.
– Pastor Eric