I cannot over-stress the value of being able to appeal to God, “Teach us to number our days and recognize how few they are; help us to spend them as we should.” Psalm 90:12 (TLB) The Message Paraphrase simply puts it this way: “Oh! Teach us to live well! Teach us to live wisely and well!” That Psalm has always been one of my favorite prayers because anyone who knows me recognizes I like to laugh. Cheerfulness is my default and I like to encourage others, so I find the seriousness of such a prayer of immense benefit.
Booksellers are overstocked on tomes about being happy, and a brief Google search will show millions of articles, blogs, and commentaries on it. But it’s really not so mysterious - it involves what we choose to focus on and how we think about it. We obsess over the trivial and miss the most valuable things right next to us, or right in front of us. Seasons of challenge and threats of loss sober us quickly to seriously meditate on what is truly valuable.
My attitude has more than once been challenged when reading verses like James 4:14, “Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.” Though we often relegate it to a good suggestion, our Savior commands us, “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life…” (Matthew 6:25) Yet honestly, when life is so transitory how difficult do you find it not to fret over its days? It is impossible!
Impossible; except for a perspective on the eternity that God has planned for us. We are to live our earthly life asking God for assistance to see how short and small our life on earth is compared to what comes after. It should establish our fixed destination first and foremost in our hearts, then assist us in any course corrections needed along the way. Wisdom from God reveals what our immediate focal point should be and stay focused! Ella Wheeler Wilcox penned:
One ship sails East, And another West, By the self-same winds that blow, 'Tis the set of the sails And not the gales, That tells the way we go.
East or West ask yourself, “Do I really like the direction my life is heading? Am I content with the destination I am currently heading to?” If you are satisfied then praise God and be thankful for His direction and grace. If not? Ask for God’s help and for what He would like you to do to adjust your sails, beginning today.