“Show me, O LORD, my life’s end and the number of my days; let me know how fleeting is my life. You have made my days a mere handbreadth; the span of my years is as nothing before you. Each man’s life is but a breath.” –Psalms 39:4-5
It is no secret that our days are numbered. Our lives are short. Our time is ticking.
It is no secret that this scares many people. That it paralyzes our actions. It defines how “safe” and “careful” we live our lives.
This principle and this fear causes us to calculate our every decision based on earthly value. As if this life is all we have to live. As if we are in control of our own clock. As if treading lightly and unnoticed in this world leads to lasting sustainability.
But what if you died tomorrow? What if you died right now? Would your lightly-treaded path of “safety” and “security” leave footprints that impacted the future? Or would your light fade with the setting sun, and your path be overgrown with the weeds of time?
I think many of us live our lives with ourselves at the forefront of our motivation. Many of us approach our days with the idea that we are the masters of our own universe, the captains of our own ship. Many of us have a zoomed-in perspective of what God can and can’t do in our lives. And while we say we trust His power, we still consciously and subconsciously clench tight to the steering wheel and base our decisions around our OWN understanding and our OWN perception of life’s magnitude.
Recently in one of my grad school courses, we were studying the idea of perspective. We came across a photo that showed a pretty phenomenal occurrence. And while my mind was certainly intrigued, I was unaware at how transformed my heart would soon become. Look at the picture below:
You can see where this driver broke through the guardrail, on the right side of the culvert, where people are standing on the road, pointing. The pick-up was traveling about 75 mph, from right to left, when it crashed through the guardrail. It flipped end-over-end, bounced off and across the culvert outlet, and landed right-side-up on the left side of the culvert, facing the opposite direction from which the driver was traveling. The 22-year-old driver and his 18-year-old passenger were unhurt, except for minor cuts and bruises.
As I stared at this photo, I couldn’t help but marvel at the unbelievable fortune of the two young people in the car. I couldn’t help but try and figure out how, exactly, that truck had flipped in such a manner. How it had avoided striking the concrete outlet and how little damage the body of the truck had received. And I certainly couldn’t help but stare, stunned, at how the car landed and how blessed the driver and passenger were to have left the scene unharmed.
I caught myself murmuring a small prayer. Praising God for His awesome protection and splendor. Praying for the hearts of the boys in the vehicle. How I hoped they realized how blessed they were to still be alive, and how I hoped they recognized how God’s hand had truly guided their truck with perfect intent. Their days could have been numbered far fewer. But, by the grace of God, they were given the opportunity to live. I sat wondering how they now used that gift.
I wondered if God had revealed Himself to the occupants of that truck in a similar way He had revealed Himself to me in my car accident. (For those of you who are just finding their way to this blog for the first time, I encourage you to read the “My Story” portion of the blog so you can see how God saved my broken life through a similar circumstance.) I smiled at the thought of His protection in the photo, then as quickly as I had been emotionally moved by the picture, I felt as though I emotionally grasped God’s splendor in that instance.
That is until I turned the page of my textbook and saw the exact same photo from a wider perspective…
This is the same scene, zoomed out. You can see the culvert, you can see the truck. But this time, you can see that the truck is actually resting precariously on the edge of a deadly cliff. The truck is resting inches from a drop that would have undoubtedly cut the number of the kids’ days very short.
As I stared at this photo, I found myself utterly speechless. Where I had jumped into prayer before, I found myself stunned to silence now. Not simply due to the sharp chills that sliced down my spine when I saw the gut-wrenching photo, but because of the message that flooded my heart almost immediately.
You see, this was an academic lesson on perception in the media. But for me, this was a heart lesson on perception of God’s magnitude. Our fragility. And the value of the days we are rewarded through Him.
I wonder how often in life we base our praise for our King off of the zoomed-in perspective of the first photo. How often have we zoomed-in solely on our own life and the amazing work He has done in it, and fooled ourselves into thinking we were seeing the full picture? You see, when we live life zoomed-in, we unknowingly place God in a box. We unknowingly calculate our praise worthy of the grace we can tangibly understand. We unknowingly limit ourselves and our potential in Him to what we think He can do through us. We wear blinders to our full potential in Christ. We wear blinders to our full potential impact in life.
But look at just a taste of what MORE there is we are missing! Look at just a taste of what a zoomed-out perspective holds in store! Are we living day-to-day giving zoomed-in praise to a zoomed-out King? Are we essentially praising one single tiny thread amongst a quilt of glory? Are we seeing the big picture? Or are we missing the grandeur of His feats because all we care to see is ourselves in His plan?
Our days are numbered and every single morning that we are given the opportunity to wake up, we must take advantage. We must commit our lives, fearlessly, to living for our King. Even when we can only see the zoomed-in view, we must commit our lives to serving a God with a zoomed-out plan.
When we try to control our own lives, we do just about as good of a job as the guy who was trying to control his pickup truck. We are bound to lose control and flip over the guardrails of truth. Thank goodness we serve a God that can land us safely and give us another opportunity. Thank goodness we serve a God that designed the big picture and is ALWAYS able to rescue us from far worse than we even know exists.
We serve a Sovereign God that is so much bigger, so much grander, and so much mightier than we will EVER be able to comprehend. We serve a God that cannot be boxed in. We serve a God that has no boundaries, no limits, and no chains. And we serve a God that LOVES US SO MUCH that He offers us the ability to host that Spirit of grandeur within ourselves through His Son, Jesus Christ.
Take a look at your life. Are you treading lightly or are you stamping powerful footprints in His name? We are called to live BOLDLY! We are fearfully and wonderfully made. We are called to live a life that is worthy of the gospel of Jesus Christ. We are called to live a life that glorifies a zoomed-out King! How can we do that when we are playing it “safe” and basing our potential around the limitations of a zoomed-in world?! If you have accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, you host a Spirit of INFINITE possibility within your heart! There is NOTHING that you cannot achieve through faith.
I want to live a zoomed-out life. I want my reliance on God’s guidance to be radical and selfless and bold. I want to redefine what this world says is possible and rewrite the books of possibility in HIS NAME! I want to wake up every morning and say to God, “USE ME! Use me however You need. Use me in whatever capacity, with whatever challenges, and under whatever scrutiny You know that I can handle. Fill me with Your limitless strength and energy and use me as Your tool!”
Are you willing to pray that prayer? Do you believe in His sovereign plan? Do you trust that there is a zoomed-out picture that holds more grace and beauty and magnitude than our zoomed-in minds can even understand? Do you truly trust God? Do you trust that He will protect you and use you as He sees fit? …Then let Him.
Our days are numbered. Our lives are short. Our time is ticking. How will you use yours to glorify God’s name?
The only thing more dangerous than allowing others to put limitations around what you can achieve, is allowing yourself to believe them. Live fearlessly. Live boldly. Live zoomed-out. Live by #GodsOdds.