There is this interesting phenomenon that surrounds my morning routine. Certain things happen with expected regularity - the alarm clock. The location of the towel. The pouring of the coffee. The starting of the car. All of these can be expected, and I'm sure you have a routine of your own...but there is something else - something not in my control - that occurs so often that I can't help but hear the whisper of God in it.
I can't tell you exactly how often, but often enough that I take note of it...I open my Bible to Psalm 39. Maybe it's that the binding is slightly cracked there, I don't know. All I know is that with some consistentcy, my eyes fall to Psalm 39, verse 4.
Show me, O Lord, my life's end and the number of my days; let me know how fleeting is my life.
This happens a lot. Enough that I highlighted the verse, and I'm not a highlighter. Enough that I ponder the verse even when the Bible doesn't fall open to reveal it. Often enough that in rare moments, I think I get it.
I have an aquaintance who travels and speaks at a lot of large stadium events. A few years ago, he was scheduled to speak to thousands of teens in Los Angeles. This was one of those huge events with fifteen big name Christian rock bands and a half dozen professional atheletes. As usual, the final speaker - my friend - was to come out and tell his story to these thousands of kids.
His story is a compelling one. It involves his mother intending on aborting him and changing her mind in the eleventh hour. It involves the selfless love of his mother's teacher. It is a story of God breaking in.
Event organizers told him "There will be a clock at the front of the stage - pay close attention to it." The last band finished and he bound on stage, ready to tell his thirty minute story and tell those in attendence that God had a plan for them. As he started into his story, he glanced down at the clock. It said "10:00". He thought this was odd, because he knew it wasn't that late.
The next time he looked at the clock, it read "09:48". Uh oh. That wasn't a clock. It was a timer. And it was counting down. He began to tell his story faster. He began avoiding the frivolous details.
"8:15" He skipped the cute parts. He went straight to the meat of it.
"06:12" He was talking even faster now, hoping that he could get his life message conveyed before the clock when zero.
"04:35". This was not fair. He thought he had all the time in the world. This was not a part of the plan.
"02:19." He hated those glowing red digits. He hated all they stood for. He had so much to say.
"00:54" Aaaah! This is crazy...talking, talking.
"00:12" One more point.
"00:01" A last second appeal to the crowd. Lights come down. Music comes up. He walks off. He has more to say and no more time to say it.
When I read that verse in Psalms, I think of that story. How would I live today - what would I say - if I really understood that the clock was a timer...that the number of my days is one less than yesterday and hundreds less than last Christmas. What would I say, and to who? Am I waisting my time talking about frivolous details when the timer races towards zero?
The clock's ticking. Get to it.