Unbelievably, although yes, this actually does happen EVERY 12 months so you‘d think we’d all be used to it, another year has come and gone. When you think about how fast 2014 went by, think about how many years are actually allocated for us to experience. Thousands of years ago, the Psalmist observed the, “…seventy years, or eighty, if our strength endures…” (Psalm 90:10) that mankind typically lives on planet Earth. This is assuming, of course, that we don’t prematurely die of accident, disease, or another of the seemingly endless ways we fragile humans tend to exit this mortal coil.
Life is precious, to be sure, but it sure is short. Imagine known human history as a timeline stretching from the very first humans to today. However long that timeline is, say 10,000 years, the Creator sees all, knows all, and understands all at the same time. Yet, our lives are unique in that we are able to view with some small degree of understanding (compared to the animals at least) an ever-so-slight window of the timeline, of history itself. God pulls the shade up for us, then He closes it down even as He pulls it up for someone else. So from age to age, human beings are witnesses to what transpires here, and yet the longest-living of us only get to witness about 1%, one tiny percent, of the sum total (100 of 10,000 years).
Remove just a hundred years from our history and imagine what life was like with virtually none of the modern conveniences we have today, yet values that were worlds apart. The things that were important to them then aren’t in most people’s periphery today, and, were they to magically teleport H.G. Wells style to the ‘modern’ day they would hardly recognize life as we know it, both the good and the bad. Imagine going back 200 years, when most of continental America was a vast, uninhabited forest. In a few years, in a blink, some of us will be gone. In another blink, the rest of us will be gone and the people who are alive will look back on our time with either fondness or revulsion.
If history is anything, it is unpredictable. No one could have predicted what a big city like New York would look like even one hundred years ago, and a hundred years from now we really have no idea what a great city will look like (when, oh when, will things look like they do on The Jetsons – weren’t we supposed to be in flying cars by now?!), much less how life will be for the people fortunate (or unfortunate) enough to live then, nor in what light our predecessors will view our small sliver of history.
There are, of course, general trends that are likely to continue in any era. In my last New Year’s post (two years ago), I made some of those general observations that were probably going to continue unabated. I was wrong on the economy, at least on the surface, but given the monstrous size of the national debt it’s likely I was just off by a few years (although yes, I do hope I’m wrong!). On everything else, given the state of human nature, the predictions were, sadly, fairly accurate. And, it wasn’t hard! I mean really, does a liberal ever stop looking for excuses to try to take guns away from the law-abiding?
So, this year I will dispense with the prognostications in favor of this rather depressing summary of just what a tiny speck of insignificance we really are in a massive universe full of things we can’t control, much less even know about. In a universe so enormous that each single-grain-of-sand sized space in the sky contains over 3,000 galaxies, each one containing 100 billion suns and 100 billion planets, it’s good to know that whoever created all that knows our name, and has a reason for allowing us the honor of witnessing even this tiny sliver of history.