Teach us to number our days carefully so that we may develop wisdom in our hearts.” Psalm 90:12
The thief has struck again. Without anyone noticing a thief has been stealing from us all. It happens visually everyday and no one does anything to stop it because they can’t. Slowly and almost without notice the thief takes from us and we usually don’t notice until it is too late. Who is this thief? It is time itself…the calendar.
The day of the year with the most daylight hours is usually around June 21st. It is known as the summer equinox. On that day, the tilt of the earth allows the northern hemisphere to be closest to the sun allowing the maximum amount of daylight hours. On June 21st sunrise occurred at 5:32 am in our town. Fourteen hours and forty-six minutes later it sets at 8:19 pm. From that time forward, slowly and surely the amount of daylight hours slowly begins to recede.
You ask, “How much?” Well, today the sun will rise at 6:07 am and will set at 7:50 pm. If you do the math you will discover that will give us 13 hours and 43 minutes of daylight. Amazingly you will find that the thief has taken an hour and 3 minutes from us. And each passing day he will take another few minutes. Finally, someday in the near future you will get up and wonder why it is still dark or why the sun is setting so early. The answer is the daylight thief.
I find all this pretty fascinating. As the days and weeks march by it reminds us that fall is coming. Before long, the leaves will be changing colors and falling to the ground. Perhaps, before long our thoughts, even for a few hours, will be on a happy place like Thanksgiving and not the corona virus. On December 21 the process will all reverse. We will begin to gain back those precious minutes of daylight and it will remind us of the promise that spring is on its way.
The amazing part of all of this is how subtly it happens. It is true of the calendar and the hours of daylight we experience, and it is true of so many small things in our lives. We take in a few too many calories and before long we wonder why our clothes are tighter. Humidity? I mean they do call it the air you can wear. We miss a few days of exercise and wonder why our energy level suddenly drops. We miss a few days talking with our Dearest Father and wonder why He feels like a stranger. We miss our time with the Book and find ourselves bumbling our way through life. Sigh. It is all too familiar and all too predictable.
The secret, I believe, is to be aware. I have one of those “Joe Cool” Apple watches that tells me more than I need or want to know. One of the things it tells me is the time of the sunrise and sunset. A few days ago the sun was setting at 8:06 pm and I knew that meant before long it would be setting before 8:00 pm. Sure enough, it is. Whether it is exercise or calories or prayer or reading the Book, if we will pay attention we will have fewer surprises and consequences. I like what Moses said. He wrote, “Teach us to number our days carefully so that we may develop wisdom in our hearts.” You know, wisdom to watch what we eat and how much we exercise. Wisdom to stop and talk to God and read His Book. Yup…good, good advice.
Paul, one of the writers of the New Testament, put it another way. He said we should make the most of everyday, not living as someone who is foolish but as someone who is wise. He goes on to say we should do this because the days are evil—or full of difficulties and challenges. The fact is we all get 1440 minutes a day—no more, no less. The hours of daylight may change, but the time has been set for eternity. 1440 opportunities to make the most of life, to get it right. And, because we are imperfect humans, we can use some of those minutes to talk to our Dearest Father about our warts and failures. We can snuggle up close as He whispers assurances of love and forgiveness. We can just rest and know…that He’s got this.