Recently, I’ve had a few reminders of the fragility and transience of this life.
A while ago, I listened to a sermon from Matthew 25:1-13 about the parable of the 10 virgins. All 10 virgins were waiting for the bridegroom of the wedding party to return. They all fell asleep. But when the shout came that the bridegroom had arrived, 5 of the virgins were ready with oil in their lamps, and 5 were not. It’s a sobering parable about the return of Jesus – it’s about being prepared for the delay, and ready when He comes. The preacher suggested sticking verse 13 up on a bathroom mirror or something, so I did:
Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour.
We don’t know when Jesus will return, or when we’ll be called home, or when it’ll be too late to get ready.
Not long after that, I heard in March that my mum had secondary breast cancer. She battled with cancer 15 years ago and God healed her after much treatment, and prayer. But now its back. None of us knew what the prognosis would be. And when my parents rushed back to the UK for her treatment and I said goodbye to them in June, I didn’t know when or if I would see her again on this earth.
My mum’s illness brought things into focus, but I thought at the time, actually I don’t know when or if I will see anyone again. I could get run over by a bus, or someone else could. It reminded me I need to make sure I say anything I need to say to someone while I can.
Not long after saying goodbye to my parents, we got a call to say that Anna’s brother had suddenly been called Home. No one had expected it – needless to say it was a shock to us all. We rushed back to the UK to be with Anna’s family. Thank God, we grieve with a sure hope that he is with Jesus and we’ll see him again (1 Thess 4:13-18).
The Psalmist prays:
Show me, O LORD, my life’s end and the number of my days; let me know how fleeting is my life.
You have made my days a mere handbreadth; the span of my years is as nothing before you. Each man’s life is but a breath. (Ps 39:4-5)
Although I hadn’t consciously prayed that prayer for myself, God has begun to answer it for me. Now I am consciously praying with Moses,
Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom. (Ps 90:12)
I don’t know how many days I or anyone of us have left on this earth, but I know I want to spend all of them, as Moses says a couple of verses later, being satisfied in God’s unfailing love, singing for joy and being glad (Ps 90:14).
Let’s keep watch because we don’t know the day or hour of Christ’s return or the number of our days. Let’s live all our days in a way that we won’t regret a million years from now.