‘War simply aggravates the permanent human situation so that we can no longer ignore it. Human life has always been lived on the edge of a precipice.’ (CS Lewis on World War II). Coronavirus powerfully illustrates this, and Psalm 90 demonstrates a right response to the crisis: ‘Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.’ (12).
The Shortness of Life
We live as though life will go on forever, but in reality our time on earth is short: ‘A thousand years in your sight are like a day that has just gone by’ (4). By contrast God, who inhabits eternity, sees the whole of history in a single moment. How can we see our lives in the light of God, who is ‘from everlasting to everlasting’ (2). True wisdom is making sure that we don’t waste the time we are given in this life!
The Fragility of Life
Living to 80 years old is definitely an achievement! We know how we wear out in life until we are dust again: ‘You turn people back to dust, saying, ‘Return to dust, you mortals.’(3). This is the result of turning from God to sin: ‘You have set our iniquities before you’ (8). True wisdom warns us not to trust in our own abilities or seek satisfaction in the things of this world.
The Love of God
During the pandemic, many have lost loved ones, yet if we allow God’s love to take hold of our lives, even death can bring us closer to God: ‘Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love, that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days.’ (14). True wisdom is able to ask: ‘May the favour of the Lord our God rest on us’ (17).
Source: The Heath, October 2020, Chadwell Heath URC