On Brevity and Eternity

By Chuck Griffin
LifeTalk Editor

Psalm 90:12: “Teach us to realize the brevity of life, so that we may grow in wisdom.”


The psalter reading for today is actually much longer, but sometimes one verse really leaps out.

This one little verse also brings to mind other Bible verses about how short life can seem. For example, James 4:14: “How do you know what your life will be like tomorrow? Your life is like the morning fog—it’s here a little while, then it’s gone.”

Or 1 Peter 1:24: “As the Scriptures say, ‘People are like grass; their beauty is like a flower in the field. The grass withers and the flower fades.'”

Having passed the age of 50 a few years ago, I’ve noticed how these verses become more poignant and pointed. Not that there are guarantees at any age—as a young reporter covering crime and disasters, I learned that life can be surprisingly fragile. We are blessed with each new day we receive.

It’s just that for me, anyway, crossing 50 made me more mindful of how quickly life goes by. Awareness of life’s brevity does bring a certain focus to the mind, and with focus there is the possibility of new wisdom.

Regarding that 1 Peter quote above: Pulled out like that, it lacks context. Peter is being much more hopeful than we might initially think.

Yes, earthly life seems to fly by, but Peter talks about the shortness of life in the context of being “born again.” He notes that the Christian life is rooted in the word of God—the divinely given message that declares Jesus Christ to be Lord and Savior—and in doing so, he also uses the word “eternal.”

Through simple belief in the work of Christ on the cross, we who are fleeting fog or wilting flowers become something that can last forever.

Lord, thank you for the miracle of life, and for the great miracle of life extended into eternity. Amen.

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