There is a marvelous passage in Psalms 85:10-12 that simply tingles with excitement about how good life is when God smiles on us: “Unfailing love and truth have met together. Righteousness and peace have converged. Truth springs up from the earth, and righteousness smiles down from Heaven. Yes, and the Lord pours down His blessings.”
The ancient hymnwriter was onto something. Because God is good, life is a happy operetta in which all nature plays joyful and active parts. While God pours down good things on us, all the best virtues in life are not only remembered but exercised. The resounding truth of this passage is that, despite everything, LIFE IS GOOD! LIFE IS GOOD! LIFE IS GOOD!
Arthur Rubenstein said it this way: “To be alive, to be able to see, to walk, to have houses, to enjoy good music, to look at wonderful paintings – it is all a miracle! I have adopted the technique of living from miracle to miracle!” Not bad, huh? He would no doubt have agreed with the unknown person who said, “Cherish your yesterdays and dream your tomorrows, but live fully your todays.” There will come a day when you would trade all your tomorrows for a single yesterday. Enjoy your ‘yesterdays’ while they are still ‘todays.’”
Robert Louis Stevenson summarized his own philosophy of life by saying, “That man is a success who has lived well, laughed often, and loved much.” I like the spirit, too, of Oliver Wendell Holmes, who declared, “Oh, to be seventy again!” He said this during his 87th year while looking at a pretty girl.
All these thoughts seem to have one common suggestion. We should “realize” life every day, being fully award of those around us, counting our blessings, doing what good we can as often as we can while we can for whomever we can, to paraphrase John Wesley, who truly did live his life to the fullest.
Unfortunately, we often get so absorbed in doing things and going places that we fail to realize just how glorious life really is. The poet accuses, “The world is too much with us. Late and soon, getting and spending, we lay waste our powers.” A song from “Fiddler on the Roof” should haunt us as well. Do you remember?
“Is this the little girl I carried? Is this the little boy at play?
I don’t remember growing older; when did they?
When did she grow to be a beauty? When did he grow to be so tall?
Wasn’t it only yesterday when they were small?
Sunrise…Sunset…Sunrise…Sunset. Quickly flow the days.
We pose for ourselves the question that Emily, in Thornton Wilder’s play, Our Town, posed to the Stage Director, after seeing how frantically everyone was living: “Does anyone ever realize just how precious life is, every moment of every day?” God grant us to awaken every morning, to pause for a few minutes of prayerful quiet time, then sit for a few minutes “on the edge of adventure,” and say to the God who made and who sustains us, “Help me to live today as though it were my last day on earth.” Unfortunately, we never know when that last day may be. But isn’t it great to be alive today? Sursam corda! Lift up your hearts!