There's nothing like an event such as a birthday, an anniversary, or a graduation to remind us of how quickly time passes.
Last week, my youngest child graduated from high school. I have no clue how that happened. When we moved to Eagle, she wasn't even 2 years old. But we've only lived here a few years ... At least, that's how it feels. In just a few months, my wife and I will be empty-nesters. But it wasn't that long ago that we were newlyweds without any children. What's going on?
What's going on is that time is marching on, as it has since creation. I'm quickly discovering the truth that every preceding generation has found out: The older you get, the faster time seems to pass.
But rather than becoming depressed or discouraged by the passage of time, there are other ways we can respond. First of all, we should remember that while we are bound to time, our God isn't. We may look back at things we failed to do and promises we didn't keep because time just seemed to get away from us, but God never will. St. Peter put it this way: "With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance" (2 Peter 3:8,9). Our days may be numbered, but God literally has all the time in the world. And because of that, he is patient with us, as well as consistent with keeping his promises.
Another lesson to be learned as we are reminded of the passage of time is the need to make good use of whatever time we have. God's Word urges us to "seek the Lord while he may be found" (Isaiah 55:6). In other words, get your act together with God before it's too late. Know him and his mercy and grace in Christ now; grow in that grace each day. The relentless march of time ought to remind us not only to focus on our own relationship with God, but also to seize opportunities to serve our God by sharing our Savior with others. Jesus told his disciples, "As long as it is day, we must do the work of him who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work" (John 9:4).
There are certainly many more lessons to be learned from the realization that time is passing way faster than we realize or wish. But one has struck me in particular in recent days. And that's this: Enjoy the time we have right now, but look forward to better times ahead. Don't simply live in the past, remembering what was and regretting what could have been. Rather, look forward to the goal that each passing day brings us closer to: heaven. One day (and that day may be sooner than we think), we'll be free from pain, free from sorrow, free from worry, free from frustrations, and free from sin. One day, there will be nothing more to regret or repent of. One day, we'll be with our Lord and our loved ones, with nothing ever to come between us again.
Until that day, enjoy this day. Roll up our sleeves. And get to work.
- Brent Merten is pastor of Mountain Valley Lutheran Church, 802 Brush Creek Terrace, Eagle.