The New York Times is going to feature your blog on its home page, and you’ve been asked to publish a new post — it’ll be the first thing tens of thousands of new readers see. Write it.
We all have experienced it. Anyone with even a little age to their years know it even better. It is an inevitability. It is, as one said, as sure as a falling light bulb, compelled by gravity toward the cement floor. It is the long yawn of mortality.
I have noticed the pull of angst mortality causes within the realm of human survival instincts begins at a young age. For instance, take my three-year old daughter. Several months now she has been insisting she is not in fact a big girl. She prefers to be called a little girl.
She has made it clear she is not ready to be a big girl yet. Her older sister can be a big girl. Her mommy, Mimi and Nana can be big girls; but, she is content to be, and seemingly to remain, a little girl. She wants to be a little girl along with her younger sister.
Even to her three-year old mind, she realizes there is a correlation between growing up and lessening one’s mortal span.
She has begun to ask the big girl type of questions. She asks, where is God? In the simplicity of her thinking, it is easier for her to think of God as living in the clouds. She will often say, God lives in the clouds. She then asks, how do we see God? In essence, how do we get to him? Then she quickly adds, almost as if she has surmised the answer even at her young age, I’m not ready to see God yet!
Just the other day she took it further, touching on human emotions, If I went to see God in the clouds, you and mommy would miss me. And you would want to know where I was. And you would say, Come back.
It doesn’t take long for the yawn to be felt and feel the need to contend against it. It is there within us all.
As one gets older, time seems to be put in the fast lane. Days, months and years go by faster and faster than we ever knew as a child.
Death may kindly stop for you, but time stops for no man. It is persistent and relentless. It marches on with a singularity of focus and resolve. It is unconcerned by your lifespan or your dreams still, as yet, unrealized. It is perpetual. It is constant, never tiring.
We may try to fight against it. We may undergo our cosmetic surgeries and take our youth pills; but, time can not be captured under a scalpel or in a bottle. We may look younger; but we are not. We may feel younger; but we are not.
Perhaps this is something of Thoreau’s quiet desperation. It is the curse, the blight on humanity. The inherited disease handed down by our first parents. Sin brings in its old pal death. Death’s tools are disease and age. It is tangible. It is visceral. It is undeniable. It is that part of us that, as Paul says, groans for the day of redemption. The day when aging, disease and death are silenced forever.
Until then, we live in the span. We live between the two points. The first point we know. The second . . . we do not. Though, we know it is coming. We feel the unease of the proverbial light bulb heading toward the cement floor.
James, the brother of Christ, put it this way,
What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. (James 4.14)
The apostle Peter, similarly opines,
for “All flesh is like grass and all its glory like the flower of grass. The grass withers, and the flower falls (1 Pet. 1.24)
Not exactly the most uplifting of thoughts. Yet, Peter has a significant but after the above statement. He continues,
but the word of the Lord remains forever.” And this word is the good news that was preached to you. (1 Pet. 1.25)
I long ago, thanked God for the divinely inspired conjunctions in Scripture! There are many of them. But, here Peter points to the very thing that gives us hope against that long yawn of mortality. That hope is the word of the Lord. The word that tells us of the Word of God (John 1). The word that tells us of redemption through Christ that brings resurrection to a sin-dead body.
A soul that exchanges mortality for immortality, perishable for imperishable, corruption with incorruption, the temporal for the eternal.
The tired frame is reinvigorated with the diving spark of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. The light of the gospel has dawned in the darkness of the human soul. God has burst through and all has been changed.
It is an amazing truth, all believers in Christ are walking, talking resurrections!
The long yawn remains. But, it is not the end.