Teach Me To Number My Days

 
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“Our days may come to seventy years, or eighty, if our strength endures; yet the best of them are but trouble and sorrow, for they quickly pass, and we fly away” Psalm 90:10-14

In college, I had the next ten years of my life mapped out. After graduating, I planned to move to China and teach in an orphanage until I was 24. By 25, I would be in a reputable Ph.D. program on the East Coast to write about my experiences and make some sort of groundbreaking contribution to the field of education that would change entire communities and, hopefully, nations. I would finish my Ph.D. by 28, get married, and have my first child by the time I’m 30. I was fully convinced this was God’s plans for the next decade of my life. Sure, there could be some setbacks here and there, but I was mistakenly confident that this was what God had in store for me.

Needless to say, almost none of the plans I was so sure of came to fruition. I never moved abroad or even made it to the East Coast. Upon graduating from college, I worked at charter schools in Los Angeles for three years. My summers were filled with leading mission teams to disciple and teach children at a local elementary school in Mexico. I entered into a Ph.D. program at UCLA when I was 24 years old and am still in the process of finishing. I got married at 25 and am now expecting a beautiful baby girl at age 28.

Looking back now, I can confidently say these experiences are undeniable markers of God’s faithfulness in my life. But in all honesty, the journey of recognizing and trusting God’s sovereignty through all of these seasons was incredibly difficult. Each season was filled with seemingly closed doors, disappointing detours, and personal struggles with relationships and my own selfishness. Each year of my early twenties was filled with constant questioning, worry and comparison to everyone else around me. Did I hear God wrong? Did I pray the wrong prayers?

“Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.”

Only recently have I slowly begun to understand the cost and freedom of surrender. Much of my early 20’s were spent in constant turmoil. Always thinking about where I’m supposed to be. What I’m supposed to be doing. What I’m not doing. In Psalm 90, Moses addresses the transience of the human life. He writes that as mere humans, we live until we’re 70. At best, 80. Yet, we live all the days of our lives with toil and trouble (Ps. 90:10). Before we know it, the years in our lives will be gone and we will no longer inhabit this earth. In contrast, a thousand years to us are but as yesterday when it is past, or as a watch in a night for God, who is all-powerful, all-knowing and all-present (Ps. 90:4). The beauty of what Jesus did on the Cross is that we will join Him for all eternity. We aren’t called to live this life as if it will be the final years of our existence, but we are called to live faithfully.

In this chapter, Moses asks God to teach us how to number our days so we can gain a heart of wisdom. In essence, Moses was asking Him to teach us how to live everyday in true wisdom, which is to fear the Lord (Pr. 9:10). To fear the Lord means we make every single decision in earnest reverence and confession that He is exalted above everything and everyone in our lives. As we desire to make each day count, we live with the right priorities acknowledging God’s Word and His holiness in every single decision we make and everything we do. Initially, giving our lives to complete surrender doesn’t seem so liberating, especially when we’re in the storms of life and we can’t seem to find any peace or understanding in our circumstances. But as we surrender every aspect of our lives, we are acknowledging that we are no longer in control and He is. We already know our final destination is Heaven – all we have to do is trust Him as He leads us there.

“Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love, that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days.”

Moses finishes the chapter asking God to satisfy us with His unfailing love so we can be glad all the days of our lives (Ps. 90:14). It’s amazing to think it actually is possible to be completely satisfied with God’s unfailing love. We don’t need anything else! We can live with gladness every single day of our lives, when we realize everything is for the One who unconditionally loves, provides and cares for us. In this life, it’s never really about what we’re doing but for whom. We live in a time where it is easy to get tempted to join the rat race. Whether it’s our careers, marriages, reputation, it is easy to get caught up in wanting our lives to look a certain way. Such desires overtake our hearts so we are no longer content with simply knowing God and being known by Him. God didn’t create us to spend our lives toiling, worrying and striving, but rather to be loved by Him and, in response, to live our lives in true joy and freedom.

When I find myself overwhelmed with fears, anxieties and doubt about my current circumstances and future, I have discovered turning to the Word of God quieted the storms in my heart. It’s not always immediate or obvious. Yet, as I yield every moment, decision and thought to God, the certainty of His promises grants me peace and assurance that I can’t find anywhere else. Sometimes we see reading the Bible as an obligation. We try to forcefully read and interpret it merely because we know we’re supposed to. Today, I want to encourage you to meditate on the word of God throughout your day. Slowly read it over, over and over again. Close your eyes. Pray, ponder and reflect. Let His promises transform your anxieties into surrender, fears into faith and control into peace. Slowly but surely, you will find yourself gaining a heart of wisdom as you learn to live in the fear of the Lord (Ps. 111:10).

 

Andrea Chung (@andreaschung) attended University of California, Davis where she studied Sociology. She furthered her education at UCLA where she received a M.A. in Comparative Education and is now pursuing her Ph.D. in Comparative Education. She is a wife and soon to be mother and currently lives in La Mirada, CA.

 
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