Moses says we only get about 70-80 years: “The days of our years are threescore years and ten; and if by reason of strength they be fourscore years, yet is their strength labour and sorrow; for it is soon cut off, and we fly away” (Psalm 90:10).
Obviously, plenty of people live past 80, into their nineties and even beyond. Moses himself lived to be 120 years old. (See Deuteronomy 34:7.) But his point is that we only have decades on this earth, not centuries and certainly not millennia.
God, on the other hand, sees a much bigger picture. “For a thousand years in thy sight are but as yesterday when it is past, and as a watch in the night” (Psalm 90:4). The implication of this is that we have to expand our perspective if we want to understand Him better.
Moroni encouraged us to “remember how merciful the Lord hath been unto the children of men, from the creation of Adam even down until” our day (Moroni 10:3). Early in the Book of Mormon, Lehi prophesies of an event which would occur 600 years later, long after his death. (See 1 Nephi 10:4.) His son Nephi mourns the destruction of his descendants, which will happen about 1,000 years later. (See 1 Nephi 15:5.) A feature of scripture is that it paints on a large canvas; it tells an intergenerational story of God’s dealings with His children, helping us overcome our natural myopia.
In 1719, Isaac Watts, a Congregational minister in England, published a book containing poetic paraphrases of the psalms. The book was called Psalms of David, and his paraphrase of Psalm 90 became a popular hymn:
Our God, our Help in Ages past,
Our Hope for Years to come,
Our Shelter from the stormy Blast,
And our eternal Home.Psalms of David, 229
Here is an arrangement of this hymn by Mack Wilberg, performed by the Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square:
Today I will expand my perspective. I will remember that God’s line of sight is infinitely longer than a human lifetime, and I will strive to contribute in the context of His timeline, not my own.