My heart was hot within me, while I was musing the fire burned: then spake I with my tongue, LORD, make me to know mine end, and the measure of my days, what it is; that I may know how frail I am. Behold, thou hast made my days as an handbreadth; and mine age is as nothing before thee: verily every man at his best state is altogether vanity. Selah.
What are we compared to God, and what are our lives compared to eternity? Just something passing through, not something that will last, not something strong. And yet God chooses to place us here for that short space of time. He gives us these fragile, brief lives for a reason. And like David, we need to get our perspective on ourselves from God.
“Make me to know,” is what David says. He’s asking God to help him see what he does not and cannot see, to understand his place, to recognize who he is and where he stands before God. He recognizes how frail he is, how easily his life could be over, and how quickly it will pass. He sees when he looks toward heaven that he is very small as he stands before the God of the universe.
But what good does it do to see ourselves this way? Doesn’t it keep us humble? Doesn’t it keep us grateful for all that God does for us? Doesn’t it just show us that we should make our lives count for something more than ourselves? Because knowing our true state only magnifies the greatness of God and His grace and mercy toward us and our deep need for Him. It should produce an understanding that we are nothing without Him. We are just a tender breeze, here one minute and gone the next. But with God added to that, we become something much more. And then that is the kind of life worth living, one with purpose and meaning.
So often we seem to forget that time is short and opportunities are limited. We may overlook the fact that we can be here one minute and gone the next. It’s good to regain that perspective so we see our time must be spent carefully. It’s good to understand our weakness so we don’t forget how much we need God. It’s good to be reminded of what is truly valuable and that we would be so hollow without God in our lives.