Life is short.
It’s a common observation, but one that leads people to vastly different conclusions.
A couple of weeks ago, at a family gathering, I was chatting with my niece Kyla who is only a few weeks away from the birth of her first baby. Kyla commented on how quickly the months of her pregnancy were racing by. As she looks forward eagerly to the birth of her child, she wants the months to fly by – despite the pain of childbirth that she knows is coming – so that she can hold her baby.
All of us can relate to her sense of anticipation. When you are looking forward to some eagerly-awaited event – a wedding, a new baby, graduation, a new job, a trip, a move, the Olympics, the coming of spring – you can hardly wait for time to pass.
But what about the rest of the time? What happens after the wedding is over, the baby is born, the job has become routine, the trip has become a photo album, the Olympics are history, spring has become summer and then fall and then winter again? How do you stay motivated on the race through life?
The wedding becomes a marriage, the young couple becomes a middle-aged couple and then an old couple, the baby becomes a child and then an adult, trips become memories, seasons change, medals lose their glory. Yet we continue to race through life, trying to keep ourselves motivated with new goals, because a life that is only about survival is a life that hardly seems worth living.
All of this can be good, but in the end, none of it satisfies. That’s because we were made for eternity.
Sooner or later the harsh realities of suffering and death will put an end to our hopes and dreams. Like it or not, eventually our strength will fail and we will have no energy left for new goals, new projects, new accomplishments. Even the love of family will not be enough to sustain our hope when the energy of our life fails, and our capacity to dream new dreams runs dry.
There is only one hope that will not fail when our strength is gone, only one vision that will stay bright when all else fades into obscurity or dusty memories. It’s really the only hope worth living for, the only dream worth pursuing, the only vision worth cherishing.
Most of us are very self-focussed in our race through life. We look for satisfaction in pleasing ourselves. In the end, that way leads to eternal pain, frustration and loss.
But there is another way. Instead of seeking to please ourselves, we can look for satisfaction in loving the One who has loved us first – the One who has suffered and died for us, the One who conquered death for us, the One who is seeking us out even now.
Reflecting on the goals he had once pursued before surrendering his life to Christ, the apostle Paul had this to say (Philippians 3:7-11):
I once thought these things were valuable, but now I consider … everything else [as] worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that I could gain Christ and become one with him…. I want to know Christ and experience the mighty power that raised him from the dead. I want to suffer with him, sharing in his death, so that one way or another I will experience the resurrection from the dead!
All of us race through life. The real question is, what goal are you racing towards?