It’s not uncommon to think that the the whole world revolves around our lives, our geographical location, our time of life, our business, and the things we accomplish. And it is a special temptation for Christians to sometimes get an oversize sense of their own importantce. After all, we feel special because we are God’s people by virtue of faith in Jeus Christ. And as 1 John 3:1 says, “We are the children of God and (to paraphrase) this is only the beginning.” It is important to recognize one’s own value — but not at the expense of seeing the larger picture of who God is and what He is doing — also in the lives of others. So everyone once-in-awhile we need to see things in the proper perspective.
This came to me through Psalm 39 which I read again recently. For reasons we may never know, David was suddenly overwhelmed with the relative brevity and smallness of his own life. He prayed, (Vs. 4) “Lord remind me how brief my time on earth will be. Remind me that my days are numbered and that my life is fleeing away. My life is no longer than the width of my hand. An entire lifetime is just a moment with you; human existense is but a breath. We are merely moving shadows, and all our busy rushing ends in nothing…” (New Living Translation)
We would do well from time to time to read a Psalm like this and meditate upon its great truth — knowing that all our rushing about and industry takes place within a very limited context. Such meditations force us to think about God’s greatness, the largeness of His world, and the things He has done in so many other lives and places at other times and in the present moment. Yet the irony of this seeming contradiction is that each life in God’s hands here on earth is also of phenomenal importance both to God and humanity.
So an appropriate prayer for ourselves might be something like this: “O God, help me to appreciate the wonder of what you did when you created me and bought me back into a relationship with you through your Son’s death on the cross for my sin. And thank you so much for adopting me into your family and giving me a place in your eternal plan for my life. But help me to realize too, O Lord, that my life is just a shadow, just so brief, so small in relation to the larger thing that you are doing in the world and the universe. I’m humbled to think that you would lavish such love on me while there are so many others in time and space for whom you have done so much as well. Help me to keep my little life in perspective of these larger matters. To you be the Praise and the Honour and the Glory for ever and forever. Amen!”