You could be planning your wedding yesterday, and tomorrow the wedding of your child. It may seem like you were only formed in your mother’s womb yesterday, and tomorrow, your friends are mourning your demise. The world did not know of your existence yesterday, and tomorrow, it’ll forget that you were ever born.
This is the brevity of life, the fact that we may die today or tomorrow – life is not just uncertain, it can be short and very brief.
Wisdom is to treat tomorrow as a gift rather than take it for granted. Some of us may live longer than others, even the life of your beloved pet dog, but it pales in significance when placed beside Him Who is from everlasting to everlasting. Our earthly sojourn revolves around the One Who alone is eternal, Who is without beginning or end.
Moses calls us to pray, “Teach us to number our days that we may gain a heart of wisdom” (Psalm 90:12). He adds, “The days of our lives are seventy years; and if by reason of strength they are eighty years, yet their boast is only labour and sorrow; for it is soon cut off, and we fly away” (Psalm 90:10).
Even in our best form, we’re but a fragile piece of mortality. Even if God were to allow us to live until 100 years old, life would still be very, very brief.
Work shapes culture and culture will outlast the worker. Paul in Colossians 3:23-24 exhorts us, “And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ.”
It’s with this confidence that we’ll receive the full pay when we come into our inheritance.
My mother turned 100 years old in March 2022, and a few days ago we thought we almost lost her. Resting after dinner, she lost consciousness for a few precious critical minutes. Her blood pressure suddenly dipped, she turned pale, and her body went limp. Her children scurried in anxiety to revive her breath, while another prayed that life be returned.
Four days before this eventful day, she had a fall and hit her head. Suffering a cut, bruised and bleeding from her head, in her usual strength of voice she insisted that she was perfectly fine and refused to be medically examined.
In her peaceful composure, she gave thanks to God, praising the name of Jesus for the assurance of life and salvation in Him. Surely, it’d have been all over for her in this life but for the tender mercies, lovingkindness and grace of God.
When we come to terms with the fact that we’re making a brief and passing visit on planet Earth, and one day we’ll die. When life does not revolve around our comforts and joys, such a one is no more a child but is ready to be weaned from his mother’s breast.
Billy Graham once said, “The greatest surprise in life to me is the brevity of life.” How does a mother cope with the reality that she’ll not see her young daughters marry or raise a family? What does she think when the natural order of life is upended, and a 94-year-old mother is forced to outlive her 63-year-old son? At 100 years, can one still live with an expectant future?
Job of the Bible faced his own test, ‘Where then is my hope – who can see any hope for me?’ (Job 17:15)
Ultimately, Job found his hope in God, ‘My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you’ (Job 42:5). In this heartfelt reply in and through the trials of life, we witness Job’s relationship with God change after encountering Him. He had experienced God intimately and personally.
The gratitude for life becomes more intense as one ages, possibly because the majority of one’s days are behind, not before. Remember that, as mortals, we’ve a limited lifespan and God has already decided how long we’ll live — ‘You set the boundary and no one can cross it’ (Job 14:5).
We only have so much time for the things God has called us to do here, and each day should become more precious. If you’re considering the brevity of life, remember the length of eternity.
We should be prepared at all times to meet God, to be alert and make the most of every opportunity. There’s life beyond the grave – and our time on earth is limited.