Psalm 39:4 Show me, O Lord, my life’s end
and the number of my days;
let me know how fleeting is my life.
From reading his Psalms, I get the impression that David had several illnesses through the course of his life. That was hardly surprising, considering the level of medical knowledge in those days. That said, his prayer here is one that many have prayed, and continue to pray even today. However, I’m not sure how wise a prayer it is. We all need to be aware that we aren’t here forever, so that we will be good stewards of the time and opportunities we are given, but knowing your physical life will end at a specific time would be a horrible burden, I would think. That’s one of the cruelties of scheduled executions. Knowing that “I could be killed at any moment” is one of the biggest trials of going into combat. The thing is, that’s true any time you get in a car to go somewhere. In some areas of some cities, that’s true just walking down the street! Even in a terminal illness, doctors are seldom spot on in their predictions, and are sometimes wildly off the mark. The point is to live in the awareness that we exist only by the grace of God, and so strive to fulfill His purposes for us on His schedule, whatever that might be.
Having already outlived my father by over nine years, this is something I think about from time to time. My personal philosophy, for as far back as I can remember having formulated such, is to plan to live to at least 100, but live so that it would be OK if the Lord takes me home today. That’s easier to say than to do! My wife has a litany of physical issues and I don’t, but that’s no guarantee for either of us. Looking at it objectively, she would have a harder time with a number of things if I were to go first, but that’s not to say that I want her to go first! We are both grateful for however much time the Lord gives us here, and even more grateful for the assurance that we have eternity with Him to look forward to. Cathy went to heaven and came back in 1975, so she certainly has no fear of that, but she doesn’t want to leave me behind, or be left here by herself. It gets complicated! It’s further training in faith and trust. Cathy has recently been given a major commission for a prayer ministry that could transform the Church in Japan, and she certainly wants to carry through with that. However, my father was in the middle of a fresh translation of the New Testament when he was taken home, so we never know. I am not to obsess over any of this, but focus on obedient fellowship with my Lord, knowing that His plans are good, acceptable and perfect. (Romans 12:2)
Father, thank You for this reminder. Thank You for Your plans for today. Thank You for all that yesterday held, and for whatever tomorrow will hold. Help me walk in gratitude and obedience all day every day, so that all of Your purposes for me may be fulfilled on Your schedule for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!