Live Long and Prosper

From my 2009 Journal. Why do we hold so hard onto life here on earth? Suicide, euthanasia, and murder are odious to us. Is staying alive a God-given survival instinct? What if we knew the date of our death? Would we accept it or bargain for more days?

In her last days, my mom observed, “The will to live is pretty strong,” and she fought hard till the end to stay here on earth. Shortly after she passed away, I read Isaiah 38, the record of King Hezekiah’s demise. God said to him: Set your house in order; you’re going to die.

Hezekiah wasn’t too happy about that announcement and he wept bitterly. Remember my good works and service to You,” he replied. And later, “I must depart . . . deprived of the remainder of my years . . . my sleep has fled, because of the bitterness of my soul . . . Give me back my health and make me live.

I cannot judge Hezekiah for his response. We do this all the time. The minute someone gets ill, we pray for their recovery. I don’t think that’s wrong—but I think it needs the condition “if it’s Your will.” What would happen if, when someone fell ill, we also prayed for their spiritual growth or acceptance of their plight?

We do not always know the mind of God. We think all affliction is bad, but sometimes it fulfills God’s purpose. In Hezekiah’s case, God told him directly that His will was that it was time for him to leave this earth. When we do know His will, why do we fight against God’s directions? Do we really think we know better? He knows our heart. Do we know His? Do we know the whole picture? The whole truth? (See Job).

Surprisingly, God responded to Hezekiah’s plea: I have heard your prayer. I have seen your tears. I’ll add 15 years to your life. And I’ll deliver Jerusalem from Assyria.

It is a comfort to me that the God of the Universe has an ear to His creation. He has compassion on our tears and He responds with abundance. Not only did He spare Hezekiah’s life, but He offered safety from his enemies. He answered Hezekiah’s prayer, but at what cost? During the remainder of his life, pride and arrogance took over his heart. Was 15 years on earth really better than 15 years he could have lived in heaven? I can picture Hezekiah arriving at the pearly gates, realizing the ignorance of his request, hitting his forehead with his the palm of his hand, and saying, “What was I thinking!?”

The Scriptures talk about long life being a blessing. We always assume a person’s life is cut short if he dies young. Somehow it seems easier to grieve an elderly person’s passing than a younger one. But from heaven’s perspective, the younger one has been spared an awful lot of heartache. If God’s best is for a person to live 5, 15, or 50 years, then he has lived for his full quota.

When God speaks, when He reveals His will, it is best to keep silent. I don’t think it’s wrong to struggle and work through our emotions—even Jesus struggled to accept the Father’s will—but our conclusion, in the end, must be, “God’s will be done.” I don’t want someone praying for me if they’re not praying the Father’s will!

I’m not near death’s door. When my time comes, will I, too, scramble for a foothold in order to stay bound to earth?

One thought on “Live Long and Prosper

  1. God did give us the will to live…so I think it is part of our make up. I believe that I really became most aware of my mortality when I lost my mother. It has been just the two of us since I was five. We did move in with my mother’s mother when my grandfather passed…and then my mom bought her first house in 1960 and we all lived there till my grandmother’s passing. Then, it was just the two of us again.

    We became Believers (me in September 65, she is February 66) and moved to the church where we joined in 67. She and I lived there till I made the decision to attend a Christian college. So it was back n forth living with mom till she retired in 93 and then she claims, she moved in with me. That was the arrangement till her passing in 2009.

    To date, she will have been gone 11 years the 31st of this month (January). Ever since then, I have felt the sands of my time/life are falling faster through the hour glass. Recently, I updated my will and am trying to “put things in order” so it will not be as much of a chore when my executor has to decide what to do with my “stuff”.

    It’s a gruesome task, but really a smart thing to do…especially when you are all that is left of your family; however, it does make it a stark reality that I’m now on the short side of the end of the roller coaster ride. The Lord has not been short on His blessings or provisions, and He always has my back. But how much longer I will be able to put Him through the constant watchcare is up to Him. I do not fear, as I once did, death…but I still desire to live! Guess it’s that thing He puts in all of us to remain where we are familiar.


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