Each person has a life story. It begins when a person is born, helpless and naked, infinitely valuable to his mother maybe but not of much account in the world at large. From that beginning on, each person is trying to get somewhere, to be something. At every stage, he is hoping that if he could only—onlywhat? Well, only ride the bike, win the girl, finish the degree, land the job, buy the house, get the raise—then, oh, then, he would have gotten what he wanted to have. He would be what he wanted to be.
But what is it we really want to have and to be? What is the point of anything we strive for in our lives? When all is said and done, none of us is getting out of this world alive. And when we face that fact, what difference does anything make? Each chapter of a person’s life leads inexorably to the next, until it leads to death. As we face death, will we care at all anymore about all those things that we struggled to have and to be during any of the earlier chapters of our lives?
This week’s Psalm illuminates that last chapter brilliantly. In that world, on the other side of death, all the failures, all the sins, all the pains—everything that caused tears in earthly life, will be redeemed into joy. Even if a person ended the earthly story of his life with only seeds of faith, hope, and love, he will reap the fruit of those seeds with rejoicing in the world to come. At that time, each of the Lord’s people will look at what he has gotten and think he must be dreaming. He will look at what he himself has become and find it so hard to believe and so good that he bursts into laughter of joy.
This end of the story is what is worth living for.