‘Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.’ – Psalm 90: 12
I am so glad that we can continue our conversations via these letters. I trust that these letters will give you more insight into the questions which you ask. In your last letter you asked about why some people lived much longer and why other people died so early.
Ever so often I’ve listened to a person pray out and say, ‘I went to bed last night just like so many other people, but I woke up and they didn’t, so I just want to thank you Lord, that I am not dead, that I am alive…’. I probably used this line in my prayer myself a few times in the past. Recently however, I got to thinking about this and asked a few questions; is one truly better off because they are alive? If so, why are they better off? Hopefully by the end of the letter, we would all be able to answer these questions and any others we may have well enough for ourselves.
My friend works in a multinational company. Very often, some of the employees are sent to a branch of the company in a different country. Before they leave, they sign documents that remind them that they are representatives of the company, they would be in the new country for an undetermined period of time and would be moved on to the next country when the need arose. When they go into the new land, they are free to live as if it were their country, they are paid in the country’s currency, they use the country’s health and other resources and quite easily can settle in and live as though they were a national. They could be sent to a holiday island one day and a not- so- appealing place the next, and yet in-spite of where they are, one thing is not to be forgotten; they are there to represent the parent company and can very easily be moved to the next post in a different country anytime.
Imagine that my friend went to one of these paradise islands, realized that the physical beauty was even better than what he had seen in pictures and became so enthralled by the beauty of it all, the care and attention he was getting from the locals, the food and the parties and made all that his focus instead of the main reason he was on this island. I can only imagine how shocked he’d be if the packing orders came for him to move to the next station. And then quite unimaginably, imagine him refusing to budge. I think he would be receiving a different set of packing orders after that refusal, wouldn’t you agree?
Like my friend, we are all here for a period of time which though is pre- determined by our maker, we have no inkling as to how long it actually is meant to be. A song writer once said, ‘if we’d known when You were coming, we’d have time to clean up our act and prepare ourselves’. Sometimes however, we get so enthralled by all the joys, frills and business of this life and either neglect or forget why we are here in the first place. For many, the problem with the lack of focus may be simply a matter of not knowing what their ‘mother company’s’ mandate was to begin with and being uninterested in knowing. We become so enamored with this existence and cling on so tightly to this life, forgetting that it is only temporal and there is an eternal life of happiness or weeping (depending on how we live out our lives) ahead.
‘And they have overcome (conquered) him by means of the blood of the Lamb and by the utterance of their testimony, for they did not love and cling to life even when faced with death [holding their lives cheap till they had to die for their witnessing].’ – Revelations 12:11 (AMPC)
The Word of God tells me where I came from and tells me quite clearly that I will return there, and when I do, it will be to give account of what I did while I lived on this earth. If I did my work well, I will be rewarded but if I lost track of why I was here and refused to listen to the clear prompts, I would receive what was due me in that regard as well; punishment.
Some time ago, after a terrible gas explosion that caused damage and claimed many lives, an older lady had fearfully proclaimed how it could easily have been her and how it was only by grace she was alive. As true as that is, one underlying truth in there is that she, like many of us Christians are still afraid of death. We have somehow come to so love the blessings we have in this life or become so engrossed in the troubles and trials we encounter that we have failed to remember that this is all only temporal and there is more ahead. And that as much as this part is important, what is actually ahead is much more important than whatever is in this life.
Is the goal to live the longest here on this earth? Definitely not. Of what good is a 90- year life lived for self as compared to a 5- year earthly existence that compels others to do something right or better? If at the end of a person’s 90- year existence, they have thoroughly neglected what they were on this earth for, was that really the fulfilled life? I beg to differ. Again, the Word has this to say, ‘For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?’ – Mark 8: 36 (KJV).
Hebrews 9:27 goes on to remind us that it is appointed unto man to die once and after that be judged. The length of a life is thus not the issue but rather the life in those years. In those years, did you get about your purpose or did you become so consumed with the concerns of the earth that what the Lord wanted you to do was completely neglected.
The gratitude for being alive is of course important, but are you alive for the sake of just being alive or you are alive for a reason? And if you are, are you getting about that reason/ purpose, or are you just content with the state of being alive just for the sake of being alive’.
I pray that, you will ask the Lord and He will show you this purpose even as you learn to let go of everything and give him total control, and I pray that you get about this purpose, and that when you next say thanks for the fact that you are alive (absolutely necessary), you will be alive not just to occupy space but for the reason you were made and what’s even better, you will not be fearful of death. I will write to you again soon dear friend.