“Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” Psalm 90:12 (NIV)
I saw him standing at the end of our shared driveway, gingerly placing a letter in the mailbox. I wanted to wave and drive on by — but at the Holy Spirit’s prompting, I stopped to chat with my neighbor.
We covered a few pleasantries and caught up on each other’s lives before wrapping up our conversation. With tears in his eyes, my neighbor smiled at my young daughter in the back seat and said to me, “Enjoy this season. These really are the good old days.”
The urgency in his voice struck me, and I chewed on his words as I headed for the carpool line. Honestly, he held a perspective I struggled to understand. These are the good old days? I thought. “Summer mom craziness” had worn me thin, and all I could think was that life would be better when all my children were in school. Or when they were a bit older. Or when this pandemic passed and life went back to “normal” again.
But as I listened to my daughter sing happily from her car seat, my neighbor’s wise words pierced my weary heart. When these days are but a memory, I won’t remember all the piles of laundry and grating kid shows and food crumbs all over the car. Instead, I will remember my daughter’s sweet voice and the excited after-school chatter of my older children. I’ll recall their tiny hands and precious expressions and bedtime prayers.
And I will miss it all.
Silent tears fell as the Lord gently convicted me of how deeply I’d fallen into the trap of thinking, “Life will be better when …”
I wonder if you’ve ever tumbled into this trap? Maybe you’re in it now. Like me, you’re so focused on the future that you’re missing the good right in front of you. I believe we all have a propensity to idealize the future — and in the sometimes underwhelming light of today, we think tomorrow holds the keys to happiness.
Much to our enemy’s delight, we end up discontented, disappointed and determined that one day we’ll find the joy and peace we desire. As a result, we miss all God is trying to teach us today. So what’s a Jesus-loving gal to do?
Thankfully, today’s key verse helps us embrace the present and escape the trap of always looking ahead. Written by Moses, Psalm 90 beautifully laments the trials we face while also directing our hearts back to God Almighty, our rock-solid source of hope. In verse 12, Moses writes:
“Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.”
In one simple sentence, Moses reminds us of what’s true: Our lives are short and fleeting! In the humdrum of our daily routines, it might feel like we’ll always have tomorrow — yet today might be all we’re given.
But we can learn to “number our days” by adopting a new perspective. Numbering our days means we recognize that each day holds immense value in and of itself. It means we wake up each morning with the realization that this day counts. This day has a divine purpose. Today isn’t merely a stepping stone to tomorrow.
I find it comforting that Moses prayed “teach us” — he acknowledges we must learn this skill! Numbing our days comes naturally. But numbering them requires the work of the Holy Spirit. Through the Spirit’s power, we can learn to embrace each day with reverence and thanksgiving.
And when we do? Our hearts grow in the priceless gift of wisdom. Wisdom recognizes that the ho-hum and the holy can walk side by side in a single day. It says, “I can be honest about my irritations and disappointments and give thanks for the sweet, subtle blessings of this day.” And wisdom opens our eyes to the truth my neighbor so readily saw: Indeed, the “good old days” are today.
Dear one, will you take a moment to stop and take stock of your day? Let’s grow in wisdom and refuse to allow the promise of tomorrow to block the beauty of today.
Lord, thank You for the gift of today. Open our eyes, and teach us how to steward it for our good and Your glory. May we grow in wisdom and grace today. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
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FOR DEEPER STUDY
Psalm 118:24, “This is the day that the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.” (ESV)
Where in your life do you get caught in the trap of thinking, “Life will be better when …”? What’s one step you could take to fully embrace and number this day? Share with us in the comments.
© 2021 by Meredith Houston Carr. All rights reserved.
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