“He’s gone.” Just two words. I received those two words as a text from a friend’s wife this week. My friend, my Brother in CHRIST, passed unexpectedly and way too early. In an instant a TWO WORD text brought sudden pain and grief, completely reset my values, and made things, that a moment before had seemed so important, completely unimportant. All in an instant: In that single moment my view of life was changed. Now not to say it hadn’t been right before, but it had drifted and in that moment it was righted. My perspective had changed.
Over the last few years “perspective” has interested me. Basically perspective is how you view things. Your perspective will affect your feelings, your opinions, and ultimately even your actions. Perspective is a powerful thing. Here’s a simple, and probably bad, illustration: Picture a glass on a table with water in it. If you view it half empty, you can feel discouraged or worried. “It’s almost gone, how do we get more? What will we do?” If you view it half full, you can feel encouraged, excited, you have hope. “We’re almost there, a little bit more and we’ll have all we need.” It’s the same glass, with the same amount of water; the only thing different is the perspective you use to look at it. I know it’s not the best example, but stay with me here. When we look at our lives, our finances, our jobs, our marriages, our families, our hobbies, each and every circumstance, we see through a certain perspective. And that perspective will drive how we respond. That’s a crazy huge deal, ‘cause what if my perspective is wrong? What if I’m looking at it the wrong way? What if what I think is important is actually completely unimportant? What if where and how I spend my time is actually a waste of time? I can’t get it back. So how can I know what the right perspective is?
I’m one of those that has seen JESUS work miracles in my life. I’ve experienced HIM free me from sin. I’ve experienced HIM radically change my marriage, bless me with kids that I shouldn’t have, and completely change my view of life. But that was years ago, and over the last few years I’ve been on a slow drift from HIM. Life circumstances change, close brothers/mentors move away, more responsibilities pull for my time and attention. Work and feeding, bathing, entertaining kids seems to exhaust my days, and then what’s left is spent binge-watching Netflix or checking ESPN on my phone or whatever else will distract me. Basically I’ve drifted back to being worldly with my life and my perspective. (see 1 John 2:15-17) So what’s the result? I’ve lost my joy, my desire to spend time with, or follow, JESUS. I’ve lost my love for The Word and my love for others. It’s been a slow drift but ultimately my perspective had changed: And then I received that text.
As I’ve mourned this week and tried to figure out or understand why or how this could happen, I begin to pray. It was the only place I knew to turn. And I was reminded of Psalms 90, especially verse 12:
“So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom.” Psalms 90:12 ESV.
This particular Psalm was written by Moses. It’s believed Moses wrote this around the time he was wandering through the wilderness. He would have been 80 plus at this time. (You would think at that age he would’ve felt his days were numbered: He should’ve been making life plans with a stopwatch, not a calendar.) If you think through Moses’ life and all that he had faced and now he’s 80 plus and wandering aimlessly through the wilderness, it would be easy to get discouraged, frustrated, and to have a selfish or worldly perspective. As you read through this Psalm, you see that Moses is getting GOD’s perspective on life, death, and time. This was smart on his part, and he gives us the key to having the right perspective… numbering our days.It’s not simply numbering them; this is a prayer to GOD.“Teach us to….” And what will the result be if we learn to? We will have a heart of wisdom, which means we will be able to see what’s most important and what’s not. We will be able to see what needs to be removed from our life and what needs to be added. We will see where we should be investing our time and where we are wasting it.
As I write this, I wish I could tell you I’ve regained my joy, and I’m walking on fire for JESUS. But it’s a journey, and I can at least now say I’m headed that way. I also wish I could understand why my friend had to leave so soon. I wish I could get back the last few months where I was too busy to hang out or even call him. I wish I could get one more goofy text. In his life he impacted me with friendship, and in his death he has helped remind me what’s important. So to you the reader I ask, “If you looked at life as if your days were numbered, what would you let go of? What would you do more of? And ultimately, what’s GOD going to have to do to teach you?”
To my brother that I’m desperately missing I say, “We both knew that Blue Bell was created in Heaven, and I smile knowing you’re sharing a bowl with JESUS. Save one for me.” I love ya brother!
***For a more in-depth explanation of Psalms 90 listen to Andy Stanley’s sermon “Time” in his Breathing Room series on the Your Move app***
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