Thursday, April 23, 2009

Teach us to number...

Today our family celebrated a birthday. Kathie, the middle child in our family of three girls, was born on this day in a simpler and more innocent time. She was (and is) my funny sister, always entertaining us with outrageous, hilarious antics.

What a beautiful gift to have sisters. They get my jokes, relate to my issues and share many of my early memories including the time Daddy gave in to our pleas that he share his chewing tobacco. I have just one word for that memory--disgusting.

There are so many things that my sisters and I share, not the least of which is the blessing of a wonderful childhood. We didn't have a clue about what was fashionable--we could have cared less about name brands or labels--and we were completely thrilled to wear our handmade bead necklaces instead of "real" jewelry. We were content because we were loved. As long as we had a transistor radio that we could tune in to the station that played the music we liked (Big WAYS on the AM dial)and cold Koolaid in the fridge, we were as happy as larks.

I could go on and on recalling special and significant memories, but the last one I'll mention involves a time when I'd been reading scripture and trying to understand the book of Revelation. I had no study guide or commentary, just the good old King James version of the Bible. What I gleaned from my reading that night was that one day everything will be over as we know it, and at that point, being right with God is all that will matter. I understood that having asked Jesus Christ into my heart to be my Lord and Savior sealed my future destiny, but I could not rest that night without having a private conversation with each of my little sisters.

Separately, I invited them into my bedroom and asked them if they were positive they'd received Jesus Christ into their hearts. They both assured me they had and I slept peacefully despite the fearsome details of my earlier Revelation reading.

In the passages for today, scripture again returns to the Psalms, highlighting chapters 25,29,33,36 and 39.

When I called Kathie this morning to wish her Happy Birthday, we lamented the warp speed at which time seems to be passing in contrast to the long days of our childhood. As I think about birthdays--and the one I will be celebrating in just a few weeks if God allows, I am compelled to consider the truth of these words from chapter 39:
4 “Lord, remind me how brief my time on earth will be.
Remind me that my days are numbered—
how fleeting my life is.
5 You have made my life no longer than the width of my hand.
My entire lifetime is just a moment to you;
at best, each of us is but a breath."

King David understood that in the grand scheme of God's glorious plan, our lives on earth are a flash. For that reason, preparing for eternity must be our chief concern. As the daily news gets more gloomy and the times become more unsettling, hearing these promises bring the kind of sweet and innocent peace that I knew as a girl.

Psalm 33: 18 But the Lord watches over those who fear him,
those who rely on his unfailing love.
19 He rescues them from death
and keeps them alive in times of famine.
20 We put our hope in the Lord.
He is our help and our shield.
21 In him our hearts rejoice,
for we trust in his holy name.
22 Let your unfailing love surround us, Lord,
for our hope is in you alone.

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