Letter 2: The Brevity of Life

My Son,

Time is a funny thing, you know. As you get older, the years will go by faster. It’s a mathematical fact. When you went from age 1 to 2, that year would have seemed like double your lifespan, because it literally was double. But when you go from age 63 to 64, then that is only an increase in life of 1/64th. The older you get, the smaller the fraction of your passing years will be. Therefore, time will seem to speed up and not slow down. In this way, time is a strange phenomenon that only serves to magnify the fleeting nature of our lives.

The brevity of life has always become pronounced to me in an unlikely place: the world of sports. I have found it enjoyable to watch football from time to time, but I am by no means an avid sports fan. I have been around many an avid sports fan, however, and their emotions are greatly tied to the success or failure of “their” team’s winning or losing. Much effort is put into the preparation of these games for the fans. They will sometimes travel hours, endure terrible traffic, pay way too much for a hot dog, and use up a full day of their lives to watch a game. When a player does something wrong or when the referee makes a bad call, people will boo, cuss, and get red in the face with anger.

Yet, observe this fact, my son; that same fan who is pouring so much emotion and effort into this game will nearly forget all about it by the time the next season rolls around (perhaps even sooner) because his emotions will always be tied to the current game or season. During playoffs, the season will be forgotten and the fans will only care about how the team performs in the playoffs. If their team wins the Superbowl, they may be elated for a week or two, but when preseason starts back up, it will not matter who won last year’s game. Every year, I see thousands of people pouring so much effort into something so obviously fleeting. I do not say this to discourage you from enjoying sports, but to encourage you to use your time on this earth wisely. Wouldn’t you be better off focusing every ounce of energy on things eternal? With a kingdom perspective, going to a football game can turn from being a fleeting high to being an opportunity to see God move. So go to the game, but center your energy on the eternal and be Christ’s representative to all you encounter along the way.

Life is brief. It is like the flowers of the field; here today, gone tomorrow. Life is a flash, a whisper, a wisp of cloud. I want you to reflect upon how short your life is.

Without the hope of the resurrection and of life everlasting, this fact has caused many to get depressed and live in fear of their imminent death. For you, however, the brevity of life is a source of great joy. In reflecting on the shortness of your life, you are also embracing the most fantastic reality that you are about to meet Jesus face-to-face. Life on earth is passing away! The Day is right around the corner when you will no longer see God in a “mirror dimly” (1 Cor. 13:12) but in person. You are on the verge of gazing into the glory of God and experiencing the fullness of joy in His Presence. Oh may the Lord grant you, my son, to envision this reality even now, and embrace the brevity of life with the utmost joy!

Your life, my son, is quite brief. Make yourself ready to be with the Lord. The Day is drawing nearer and nearer.

Love,
Dad

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