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But a Breath

My hope is in you. Psalm 39:7

Bobby’s sudden death brought home to me the stark reality of death and the brevity of life. My childhood friend was only twenty-four when a tragic accident on an icy road claimed her life. Growing up in a dysfunctional family, she had recently seemed to be moving forward. Just a new believer in Jesus, how could her life end so soon?

Sometimes life seems far too short and full of sorrow. In Psalm 39 the psalmist David bemoans his own suffering and exclaims: “Show me, Lord, my life’s end and the number of my days; let me know how fleeting my life is. You have made my days a mere handbreadth; the span of my years is as nothing before you. Everyone is but a breath, even those who seem secure” (vv. 4–5). Life is short. Even if we live to see a century, our earthly life is but a drop in all of time.

And yet, with David, we can say, “My hope is in [the Lord]” (v. 7). We can trust that our lives do have meaning. Though our bodies waste away, as believers we have confidence that “inwardly we are being renewed day by day”—and one day we’ll enjoy eternal life with Him (2 Corinthians 4:16–5:1). We know this because God “has given us the Spirit . . . guaranteeing what is to come”! (5:5).

How is it comforting to know that God has made it possible for you to share in His eternal life? How can the gift of each moment encourage you to make the most of your time?

Thank You, Lord, that this life is not all there is! You have eternity in store for all who believe in You. Help us to spend our numbered days here in service to You.


Psalm 38 ends with a call for help and Psalm 39 ends with a plea to be left alone. The poetry in these two songs show that David is confused. He doesn’t know that God isn’t striking him (39:10). He’s being true to his feelings in a way that allows his heart to come clean in the presence of a Father who is teaching him to trust Him in circumstances he doesn’t understand.

Mart DeHaan

By |2019-07-19T13:41:01-04:00July 25th, 2019|
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