Just a few weeks ago we entered into the fall season in the Northern Hemisphere. Just now as I write it appears that the feel of autumn is here. The weather app on my phone shows me cooler temperatures. And my long sleeve shirt is comfortable. Although not a new concept, the term “autumn” is also applied to our lives. Indeed, it reminds us that life is temporary.
We get this picture clearly as we rotate through the seasons of the year. In spring, the world buzzes and blooms with new life. Summertime brings more growth as the earth continues to warm. Then, fall appears with harvest time and the ripe, full season of life. Finally, winter raises its head and the life cycle completes as plant life dies back and goes dormant.
Our Life Cycle Shows That Life Is Temporary
People see and feel this same cycle on an expanded scale. In the first place, we celebrate the birth of a child. Hope for the future rests in this newborn. Then the child rises through the scrapes and bruises of childhood and into the crazy teenage years. Ah, next comes young adulthood with all of the challenges of new jobs and new families. But, before long middle age arrives with grandchildren not far behind. As we cycle through the autumn, life can begin to slow a bit. Retirement and health issues can become part of our existence. Finally, to all of us comes death – the end of the cycle.
I was very close to Taffy, my first dog. She came into our lives just after my first marriage and she was with us for 17 years. When she died, I laid facedown on my bed and wept. 17 years was far too short. Then, Abby, the last one was a special companion after my first wife died (see the next paragraph), but she was only with me about 12 years. Letting her go was tough. Those few years in my mind were too few and proved again that life is temporary.
On another occasion I wept. At that time, just over 13 years ago, my first wife died in an automobile accident at only 46 years of age. In other words, she was much too young, yet in our world teenagers, children, and newborn babies are not exempt from death. Life is temporary.
Yet some, like one of my great uncles, live to be over 100 years old. At one time that seemed to be exceptional, but now it occurs far more often. Yet, what is only 100 years?
The Bible Tells Us That Life Is Temporary
The Bible in Psalm 90 speaks of an average life span of 70 years, or due to strength perhaps 80. Yet, that same scripture passage tells us that 1000 years are like yesterday in God’s sight. Our life span is compared to a single night’s watch or like a flower that springs up new in the morning and wilts and withers by the evening. God Himself is declared to be from everlasting to everlasting. In that context, life is temporary.
We definitely try to pack a lot into our few short years and some are more successful than others. But, where does it leave us? Somehow, on the whole, our life gets wrapped up in our jobs, our possessions, and our children as if it would never end. Of course for some, they pack in much for they feel that the grave IS the end. Yet, this chapter in Psalms ends with an understanding that by the kindness of God, the things that we accomplish on this earth can be confirmed. Or as the footnote in my NASB 2020 Bible share, “give permanence to.”
But, The Bible Reveals That Life Can Be Eternal
Yet, Psalm 90 is not the last word on the brevity of life. Jesus says in John 20:28 of those who follow Him, “I give them eternal life, and they will never perish.” Earthly life IS temporary, but through Christ we can have life that is eternal.
The most memorized verse in the Bible speaks to this as well:
For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish, but have eternal life.John 3:16 NASB
So, now there is an option. We can live as if life is temporary, or we can respond to the call of God, accept Jesus’ invitation and receive eternal life. Don’t settle for temporary; receive life eternal.
A Hymn That Speaks of Eternal Life
O Love that wilt not let me go,
I rest my weary soul in Thee;
I give Thee back the life I owe,
That in Thine ocean depths its flow
May richer, fuller be.
O Light that foll’west all my way,
I yield my flick’ring torch to Thee;
My heart restores its borrowed ray,
That in Thy sunshine’s glow its day
May brighter, fairer be.
O Joy that seekest me thro’ pain,
I cannot close my heart to Thee;
I trace the rainbow thro’ the rain,
And feel the promise is not vain
That morn shall tearless be.
O Cross that liftest up my head,
I dare not ask to hide from Thee;
I lay in dust life’s glory dead,
And from the ground there blossoms red,
Life that shall endless be.
“O Love That Wilt Not Let Me Go” by George Matheson (1882)
Of course I have a video of the hymn, “O Love That Wilt Not Let Me Go.”
Then, you can read Psalm 90 at BibleGateway.com.
Finally, if you were encouraged by this article, you may want to read “The Benefits.”