Chicago came into view as my plane touched down and began to taxi across the O’Hare tarmac, the plane finding its niche among the grid of city lights that shone brightly against the night sky. I stared blankly at the safety card in the seat pocket in front of me, not able to read the rest of my mom’s email. Six hours ago, I was still sitting at the kitchen table, thinking about what to make for dinner. Plans changed. A flight was booked. And now I was here – but grandma was not. A thousand thoughts overwhelmed me as I realized she would never see my sisters graduate, attend any of our weddings, or meet her great-grandchildren. I have confidence that I will see grandma again, but if I live to be the same age as she did, I won’t see her for more than 20,000 days. That’s a long time.
Life expectancy in the United States usually ranges between 76–81 years. Life here on earth is a blessing, but it is also a costly grace, especially for a follower of Christ who engages in the never-ending battle against the flesh, faces rejection and persecution from the world, and also experiences sickness, disease, and aging with the rest of fallen creation. A Christian may have ten thousand, twenty thousand, maybe thirty thousand days of spiritual warfare ahead of him. Am I the only one who feels overwhelmed?
Instead of watching the clock and counting off the days, we should look unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith. We are right to doubt our own resolve. If sanctification was left up to us, we would fail after a single day, or maybe a single hour. But it isn’t up to us. Jesus’ faithfulness is the foundation for our faithfulness. It is He who will finish the good work He has begun in us. It is His strength that empowers us, not our own good intentions and resolutions. His faithfulness is eternal; His strength is inexhaustible.
The Christian life is correctly compared to a race, not a sprint. Yes, the race seems long and the finish line isn’t even in sight for some of us. But God is good and gracious. He will be faithful to give us this day our daily bread, not one day too early or one day too late. His grace and mercies are new every morning. He does not grow weary, and He is not intimidated by eternity, much less twenty thousand 24-hour days. Because He lives, we can face each new sunrise without fear, knowing that we can neither outrun nor outlive the grace of God.