The Span of a Life

I heard a Christian doctor say something recently that I’ve wished wasn’t true. He claimed that, even with all the modern advances in medicine, the average lifespan is still 70 years, 80 at the most. Yes, some live to be 100, but many die way too young. Put them together and it all averages out the same as it did in Moses’ day, when he recorded Psalm 90:10:

Our days may come to seventy years, or eighty, if our strength endures; yet the best of them are but trouble and sorrow, for they quickly pass, and we fly away.

Seventy is looming larger on the horizon (especially on my husband’s horizon), so I didn’t like hearing that. The last two weeks, I’ve liked it even less.

ICUWe nearly lost my favorite (and only) aunt this week. She has a chronic disease that set her up to get another one. Together the illnesses gained momentum, going from bad to worse in a matter of days. She only had 1/5 of one lung functioning and they suspected other organs might be affected. My cousins were called to be by her side and the doctors said they’d done everything they could.

One of my cousins reminded me that there’s still room for a miracle.

I’m certain that God can do the impossible. I believe that. I’ve experienced it. And yet, I also know that there are times I’ve prayed fervently for something, but He answers “no.” I’m sure you have, too. Sometimes He has something else in mind. Another way to be glorified.

We don’t understand it. We may not like it. But we can be certain that even in the midst of difficult, painful things, He hasn’t stopped being in control. And He hasn’t stopped having our very best interests at heart.

Believing all that (which I still do), and having my aunt’s age fit neatly in that annoying average lifespan box, I tried to accept what seemed to be inevitable.

And then we got the word that they’d pulled the plug.

When the phone rang next, I braced myself for the sad news. Instead, I heard this:

Immediately when the plugs were pulled, she sat up in bed and started talking!

That was Thursday. Each day since she’s gotten stronger. Today she’s being moved out of intensive care. The hospital staff call her the Miracle Lady.

I don’t know what happened. But I’m convinced of one thing. God is the One who did it. Even if the outcome was different, God would still be in it, intimately involved in every detail.

Back to that lifespan, none of us knows what ours is. We don’t have a clue the number of our days. We only know that the One who ordained that number, before there was even one, watches over us with His love. We’re never out of His sight. He’s present every single day that He grants us life. Each one is a gift.

We can’t barter with God to change our number. Hezekiah, one of the few good kings, tried that when he was dying. The Lord relented and gave him an extra 15 years. During those 15 years, his son Manasseh was born who became the most evil and vile king they’d had yet. (Read the whole story in II Kings 20-21.)

Maybe Hezekiah should have just accepted his situation.

Maybe I accepted my aunt’s too quickly.

Does either really matter? God has the last word. Not me. Not you.

In the days I do get (all counted as bonus), I’ll try to balance having faith for the impossible with acceptance for reality.

And leave it in God’s hands.

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