In reflecting on reaching 70 I definitely do not take the years for granted. Twice I have undergone life threatening illnesses needing radical surgery. And ever since my dystonia disease was diagnosed in 1987 I am aware of living between three-monthly injections, without which I revert to being physically twisted in serious pain. All this might rather seem too gloomy, but it fits the mood for Psalm 90.
This psalm gives a very sober view of human vulnerability from God's point of view. Verse 10 goes on: and if by reason of strength they be four-score years, yet is their strength labour and sorrow; for it is soon cut off, and we fly away. Yet, amidst grim news there is a vital prayer and a promise.
- The prayer : 'Teach us to number our days aright, that we might gain a heart of wisdom' (verse 12). No day is to be wasted. Start valuing time and life and you will learn more about living well in God's purpose. I need to make sure that every day that's left counts for God!
- The promise:' May the favour of the Lord our God rest upon us; establish the work of our hands for us - yes, establish the work of our hand (verse17). Establish is a God word here. The God who has all the time in the world compared with me, calls me to count the days so that within them my little bits of work can really belong, sure and firm, in his long-term plans.