Today I turn 25. A “quarter-century milestone” as it were. Honestly? Thinking that I’ll live to be 100 seems a little presumptuous to me but most people would tell me at this age, “You’ve got your whole life ahead of you!”
Not exactly. I have what’s left of my life ahead of me, not my whole life. I’ve already experienced 25 beautiful messy years on this planet and year 26 might be my last. I’m not saying that to be depressing, I’m saying that because it’s true! It may be my last day, week, month, or year this side of heaven.
Sure, there are a million items left undone on the half dozen bucket lists that I have yet to put on paper. There are memories I want to make, people I want to meet, books I want to write (wait.. what?) and lessons I want to learn. But none of those things come guaranteed. I don’t get to read ahead and see if all the days that were formed for me by the God who knit me together (Psalm 139) include all the things I think I need to live a full life. I don’t know if those days end in 2013 or 2063. I just know that the same God who wrote my first day also wrote my last day. And because of His great love for us my “last day” isn’t actually my last day — it’s the beginning of the perfect endless day. A day when I will hug Jesus with happy tears racing down my cheeks, swap stories with other saints, rejoice in re-born souls and sing in perfect harmony with a million other languages and tribes and cultures. And it will be perfect, because God is perfect. And His timing is perfect, and His gospel is perfect.
I’ve argued with God on several occasions regarding His timing. I’ve been guilty of saying all the right things and believing none of them. God hears us when we’re angry and broken and fed up and tired and grieving and aching. But it doesn’t change the fact that we have no control over how many days we get or if they go according to our plan. We can eat right, drink right, sleep right, work right, play right and die tomorrow. That doesn’t make God unfair because God is not accountable to our agendas. But I am accountable to Him. And so are you. And so is the person next to you on the metro, and waiting in line at a grocery store, and crying in a doctor’s office, and hugging a soldier goodbye, and running away from home, and reading at Starbucks, and burying their child, and walking out on their marriage.
We are all accountable for the days we have been given to the God who gave them to us. And the only way your days will add up to eternity is when you take your plans, lay them at the foot of the cross and say, “Your plan is better, Jesus. YOU are better. I want the days that you wrote for my life, to read just like you wrote them. I’m tired of trying to edit them, add to them, and manipulate them. When you died on the cross I believe you destroyed my depravity and replaced it with your righteousness. I want you to interrupt my agenda and grant me the abundant life that is only found in You.”
And the whole “abundant life” thing? You won’t do that perfectly. In the past 25 years of my life I’ve been distracted and disillusioned and I’ve hurt people and lied and made excuses. I am an imperfect representation of the perfect loves that dwells within me.
Nevertheless, today I will walk into my 26th year of life with the God who wrote and numbered each of my days. I won’t get it all right as I follow Him and worship Him but I will rejoice in what I have been given with lots of ice cream, instagrammed moments, and heaps of gratitude.
Because it is always the little moments that remind us of the bigger picture.