Life Is Short and Then We Die
So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. 2 Corinthians 4:16
On a recent road trip with my son, a couple of things were revealed to me. The first was when we stopped to do a hike that we’d done a year ago. Last year, it was me in the lead, with him struggling to keep up. A year later, it was quite the opposite with me slowing us down. It was yet another reminder that I’m getting older and slower. Maybe I was in a sullen mood, but on the hike, I reflected upon the fact that every day which passes is one more behind me and one less ahead of me. Time slips away and no matter how much I may want to, I can’t go back. Eventually of course, I will run out of days, and then – it’s over. Like I said, I was in a melancholy mood.
The other thing on my mind was much more positive though. As we were driving later, we came to a long one-lane construction zone with a 55mph speed limit. One car ruined it for everyone, driving 35mph. At first, I fumed. After only a few seconds of agitation though, I realized that it was pointless to be frustrated by such an uncontrollable thing. I quickly let it go and was soon laughing with my son again. I was then able to reflect on my own personal growth. A year ago, I’m not sure if I’d have made the right decision. Even though I’m growing older and slower, I can still become a better person. My inside can improve even if my outside is in decline.
This is the message of today’s passage. In it, Paul acknowledged that our outer physical life is wasting away. No matter how hard we try, we cannot turn back time. As depressing as that may be, we can still grow and become more like who God made us to be. Day by day, we can pursue and develop our inner life.
It would be a tragedy to grow old and weak outside without ever growing up inside. According to Paul, the only thing that gives this life authentic meaning and purpose is to know God. We don’t have to wait until death for this though. Jesus taught that we can begin to experience eternal life here and now, simply in knowing him (John 17:3). We may be growing older, but hope is not lost. On the contrary, as we follow Christ, we’ll find that our greatest hope is just beginning.