Counting Our Days
So teach us to count our days that we may gain a wise heart. -Psalm 90:12
Thus saith Moses. I read a Psalm a day in my morning devotional liturgy. A while back, I read Psalm 90. It is the only chapter in that book attributed to Moses, one of the greatest figures in our faith. Tradition has him looking wistfully from the top of Mount Pisgah…over the land to which he has led God’s people, on which he would not set his feet. I imagine he counted pretty much every single one of his days, from hearing God speak from the burning bush, to facing down Pharaoh, to bouncing around the desert like a pinball…to his Pisgah perch. Each and every single one of them provided challenges and satisfactions. And now, Moses was wrapping up his tally of them. Psalm 90 serves as an open prayer to God, meant to honor the Holy One and to add an exclamation point to the teachings Moses piled on God’s people, especially in the long, heavy, often dour book of Deuteronomy.
The morning I read Psalm 90, we received notice that Federal social distancing guidelines would be extended until the end of April. We’d been counting the days already. More time to do the math: sixteen, twenty-seven, thirty-eight… I would like to suggest that Moses’ instructions to the Hebrews fit our present time to a T—that is, perfectly! However, the goal is not to keep track of the number, but rather the value of the days. We may kind of feel like the Hebrews, wandering aimlessly through a foreign-like experience. Moses challenges us not simply to cross the days off the calendar, but to pay special, close, intentional attention to them in order to squeeze the substance from them and to gain wisdom by so doing.
Maybe it’s my solitary perch in this office chair that allows me to be more reflective than others; so I see how much of this wisdom-gaining is already occurring. So many of you are asking really valuable questions and processing the days, seeking to gain a wiser heart. We are longing for a lot of the stuff that we’ve lost…and some things, we don’t miss at all. Life has changed, and will continue to change, for a good long time. We probably won’t be wandering for forty years; but forty days have already passed, with the end not yet in sight. As I suggested in another of these posts, Easter will be a lot more Lenten-like than we prefer. These days and times WILL end. We each hold the key for determining how much wiser we will be for enduring them. Just imagine how prepared the ground of our being will be!
Prayer: Holy God, teach us to value these days, even though we may not love them. Guide us to use this time, like Moses, to gain a heart that is wiser in the things that really matter to you. We pray this in Jesus’ name. Amen.