Saturday, 4 June 2011

This old life

The days of our lives are seventy years; And if by reason of strength they are eighty years, Yet their boast is only labour and sorrow; For it is soon cut off, and we fly away. - Psalm 90v10

Seventy or eighty years. That's about it. That's about all we can really expect. Years have passed, science has progresses, life spans have changed. But still when it comes right down to seventy or eighty years here is about all we can expect.

I am about to turn 56 years old. I realise that unless I get sick or have an accident I probably have 15 or 20 or so years left. Science being what it is I may have a bit longer, but chances are I have lived the majority of my life on earth already.

That's kind of discouraging in a way. And then we read the rest of the verse – 'yet their boast is only labour and sorrow; for it is soon cut off, then we die.'

Yuck. I thought we read the psalms for encouragement.

I get to live seventy or eighty years. Those years are full of work and sorrow. And then I die.

Life stinks. As I used to tell students when they said 'that's not fair.' I would reply, 'Life's not fair, then you die.' Or, as Westley replied to Buttercup in 'The Princess Bride' when he 'mocked her pain' – 'Life is pain. Anybody who says different is trying to sell you something.'

That might be how it seems if we are looking in the wrong place. As Christians we can find things, in a sense, even worse. The world seems to prosper and go on their merry way. We try to live for the Lord and life is still of labour and sorrow and the day of out cut off gets closer and closer.

In the great Resurrection Chapter of 1 Corinthians 15 Paul addressed this issue. It is the resurrection of Christ that turns this all around. Without it, live would really and truly stink. Paul wrote 'If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men the most pitiable.'

Life is tough. Sure, it has its good moments. We have those golden fleeting moments when everything just seems right with the world and we are totally at peace and contentment.

But that doesn't last. Bad stuff happens. Life is labour and sorrow – and then we die.

But we do have a hope. The same resurrection that declared Jesus to be the Son of God gives us the promise of new life beyond this hard and sorrowful one.

I skipped something on purpose. I like the way the psalmist refers to death – 'then we will fly away.'

Because it has become a part of our culture anyone who reads words are drawn to an old gospel song.

Some glad morning when this life is o'er,
I'll fly away;
To a home on God's celestial shore,
I'll fly away (I'll fly away).

I'll fly away, Oh Glory
I'll fly away; (in the morning)
When I die, Hallelujah, by and by,
I'll fly away (I'll fly away).

When the shadows of this life have gone,
I'll fly away;
Like a bird from prison bars has flown,
I'll fly away (I'll fly away)

I'll fly away, Oh Glory
I'll fly away; (in the morning)
When I die, Hallelujah, by and by,
I'll fly away (I'll fly away).

Just a few more weary days and then,
I'll fly away;
To a land where joy shall never end,
I'll fly away (I'll fly away)

I'll fly away, Oh Glory
I'll fly away; (in the morning)
When I die, Hallelujah, by and by,
I'll fly away (I'll fly away).

Life is tough – but I am looking forward to the day when we get to fly away! 

3 comments:

Tyrone B, said...

I remember that song well...one of the churches i attended as a young boy sang it at every service.

I am only 40 now and I started on my kids late in life (due to my own selfish ways and ignoring God) and I think about how much time I have left on this earth quite frequently...it helps me focus, to use it wisely, and enjoy my family.

Thanks for the post. It was like expressing a thought from my head.

~There was also a Christian Reggae artist that did 'Ill Fly Away', Papa San...loved that version as well.

Ed Franklin said...

As usual, you and I are very much on the same page. In addition to the encouragement from I Cor 15, I have been known to dwell on "For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us." (Romans 8:18)

"Ill Fly Away" brings back some sweet memories of the Sunday mornings we worked in a Nursing Home Sunday School class....that was our "theme song"..those pitiful, broken bodies in their wheelchairs and on gurneys, blind, emaciated, but spirits lifted up as they peeped over the horizon toward the Glory which is to be revealed.

Roger Parrow said...

Thanks guys. This is one of those that really hit home for me as well.