Better is one day in your courts than a thousand elsewhere...Psalm 84:10
One of my favorite verses reads that one day in the courts of the Lord God is better than a thousand elsewhere. In fact, the entire chapter gives me gooseflesh. The writer says that his soul faints for God, that his heart and flesh cry out. He says that everyone in Zion goes from strength to strength and appears before God. David, the author of Psalm 84, calls God his sun and shield and proclaims that no good thing will be denied to His people. No wonder David is excited about one day in God’s presence. It makes me think of how busy I am and of the time I waste “elsewhere”. It makes me ask myself, would I trade the years ahead for one day with Him? I’ll be honest with you, I spend most of my time elsewhere.
My friend’s mom just died. She was in her 80s and had been ill with Alzheimer’s Disease for many years. My friend has known this day was coming since I met her almost two years ago and has dreaded it with every new morning. Death does to me what I think it does to most of us; we think of the deceased with tenderness, we think of the bereaved with sympathy and then we think of ourselves. We think of our own mortality. I look at my grieving friend and wonder about those that will grieve me. I wonder.
I know few things but one is that I have already spent roughly half the years allotted to me. That’s assuming old age. On the long list of the things I don’t know is if I’m overestimating what remains of me. My friend’s mom died today after a long illness with plenty of time to prepare, to speak and to love. I’m hoping I’m living the same way but in case I’m not...
Don’t mourn me hard. Better is one day, one moment, one breath in God’s courts. That’s on the short list of things I know. I have had glimpses and it left me hungry. It left me saying like King David, my heart and flesh cry out for the living God. Don’t weep if my years are short, better is one day in His courts than a thousand elsewhere. I don’t want that thousand. I am myself in His presence, and spend too much time in the elsewheres. So don’t mourn me hard.
Don’t grieve me long. If you are taken with the need to honor me, stretch your life toward Jesus. If thoughts of me don’t turn you toward Him, I have not lived as I intended. Don’t spend time with graveyards and tombstones and flowers. Run, run, run to the life He gave you. Don’t let grief become your elsewhere, go to His courts.
Don’t wonder if I knew I was loved. I know. I’m overwhelmed with it. Don’t think it was your job to make me feel your love, it is my job to accept it. If you suspect I didn’t always know how to be loved, you are correct. But I learned. That came with my moments in the courts of God; I learned to be loved. Time well-spent.
If you’re feeling morbid, please don’t. I don’t. I’m in a celebratory mood. I know the path to God’s courts. I’m allowed in. I can even get there from elsewhere. And I finally understand it is better there. That’s why when I’m the one who has died; I’ll be better off than you, if you remain. Better is one day in Your courts than a thousand elsewhere? What about forever in His courts? Elsewhere over, better days coming. Move over David.