Nickelback taught us to “live like you’ll never live it twice” and Alphaville gave us the perennial takeaway that we might as well hope to “die young” or at the very least, “let us live forever.” I wanna be forever young became more than your typical go to song of the night before the bars closed, but rather, a battle cry against the fleeting passage of time. F.U.N. took it another step further and encouraged youth that “tonight / we are young / so let’s set the world on fire.” Oh and let us not forget Bowling for Soup’s hit song 1985 that circled around the idea of lost time and regretful could have’s and should have’s. But before we heard these catchy beats on our Apple headphones, you can recognize their presence in the classics of old.
One such encounter can be seen in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s, The Great Gatsby. Nick’s true, yet sobering statement that certain things are meant to be buried in the past, never to be re-lived again, gives way to a very disillusioned Gatsby retorting back, “can’t repeat the past?…Why of course you can!” Whether we are seeped in denial or spear-headers of a carpe diem lifestyle, we’ve been told that life, in it of itself, is painfully short.
Therefore, live it well. Finish that donut and chocolate moose track ice cream simultaneously. Or on a more serious note, go ahead and flirt with the young coworker at your office who laughs at all your jokes and cheers on the same sports team as you do.
On the flip side, we are also told to slow it down. We hurry far too much and breathe far too little. This generation, more than any other, is addicted to life in the fast lane. With the influence of technology, everything is at your disposal and nothing is off limits. From high speed internet, to connected TV’s, watches, refrigerators, cars, security systems and apps to fill in the blanks, this informational age has crippled our minds to a false sense of urgency. Gone are the days of hourglass loading and spinning beach balls – there is a zero tolerance policy for such a waiting game.
So what are we to do with a message of grabbing life by the reins and the other that we ought to take it slow?
More importantly, how do we rest in both of these statements in a God fearing manner?
We know for a fact that life is short. The wisdom books in the Bible help us see that very clearly and David does not hesitate to remind God “how short [his] time is” [Psalm 89: 47, ESV]. Yet despite our brief inhale and exhale on earth, we are not called to sprint to the end. Nor are we asked to sit back and flower pick our way down the road of life.
The world says to live with no regrets and to live as though tomorrow may never come.
Our Lord says to live as though our own life has little value and to live to further His kingdom and His glory [Acts 20: 24, ESV].
The world says to slow down and rest for the good of the mind, heart and soul.
Our Lord says to sit at His feet and rest in Him for his burden is light [Matthew 11:28-30, ESV].
Our path is indeed short, but God does not call us to pack an itinerary for the sake of maximizing our time on earth. In His great wisdom and purposeful provision, not every moment of our short lives needs to be one of action. We are misguided to believe that the brevity of life must therefore be one of panic and sheer busyness. However, we must not find ourselves slacking and dozing off in the sidelines under the passive notion of ‘God’s will be done.’ We wait and we move with a heart of absolute faithfulness and humility; our minds are focused on not wasting our short lives for kingdom glory and our hearts are not restless when asked to remain still in the presence of our God’s guidance.