You saw me before I was born.
Every day of my life was recorded in your book.
Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed.
—Psalm 139:16 NLT
I’ll never forget her. I came down the stairs, still a bit groggy with sleep, into her welcoming kitchen. She was busy at the stove preparing a big breakfast for me and her other guests, and she was smiling … through some tears. She’d lost a son several years before, and the memory of him was still fresh (could it ever not be when a mother loses her child?). “You know,” she shared, “I was stirring the eggs a minute ago, feeling miserable, when I realized that this was the year my son should have been graduating from high school. I started grieving that I’d never see a high school diploma in his hands … or a college diploma … or his children. But then I remembered Psalm 136, and I was comforted. God knew and planned for every day my son would spend on earth. And my son lived every single one of them. He was never intended to graduate college or to have children. He lived the full life God had laid out for him.”
Those might not have been her exact words, I can’t remember that precisely. However, I do clearly remember the awe in that simple kitchen as she clung to God’s Word for comfort and truth. She was joyful even as she cried. Why? She trusted what God said. She believed that He is good and that His plan is best. And she rested in that. I stood there stunned. Could I have received that verse as well as she had? Just how many restless nights and days had passed before she came into that peace that God is in control, that taking a loved one to Heaven early could truly be best for that loved one? It made an indelible impression on me. And Psalm 136:16 will always be associated in my mind with this mother’s sweet receiving of God’s will for her son—so vastly different than what she had willed.
What about you? Do you know how many days you will live? Me neither. But God does. He saw you and me as we were formed in our mothers’ wombs. He planned, even then, how long we would live, what hard things He would allow, before He brought us home. God has prepared a place for you, dear one, and a place for me. In fact, for all who love Him, who have received Him as the way to salvation and eternal life, our stories get way better after we die.
If we truly believe that the best is yet to come, then we can be at peace with however many days He has ordained for us to live. If we are in Christ, we need not fear death. It’s simply an entryway to Heaven and a whole new glorious world prepared for us by the God who loves us and wants us with Him forever!
In light of that, how should we then live?
- We should live peacefully, knowing that God’s plans are best. If we are still here on earth, He has work for us to do.
- We should live earnestly, knowing that our time might be short. Taking every opportunity God gives us to share with loved ones and strangers that eternity awaits them on the other side of death.
- We should live fearlessly, knowing that His timing for our deaths has already been determined. We don’t have to panic about it, but trust Him to bring us home when the time is right and to keep us alive until that time.
True confessions: I’m not there yet. Some days I dislike intensely what’s happening in my life, and I question God about His plans. Some days I fritter away the valuable time I have left on worthless work, when I should be about kingdom work. And I can be extremely fearful when I think about death—or more precisely—the pain that might precede it. But despite my frailty, despite my tiny faith, I have big desires. I desire to value the days of my life, however many are left. I desire to hear His voice each day, showing me the best way to live. I desire to trust Him that He is in control. How about you?
Heavenly Father, thank You for Your Word! Thank You for the reassurance that You know us so intimately. Thank You that You have planned our days and our home-going date in advance. Oh, Lord, help us to truly live out Your plans for our lives, using every day wisely! And when it’s our time to cross over from this life to our forever-life with You, would you please give us a deep gladness and perhaps even a glimpse of You as we cross? In Jesus’ Name I ask this, Amen.
You are loved,
Sweet Selah Ministries
To encourage a movement away from the belief that “busy is better”
and toward the truth that stillness and knowing God matter most—
and will be reflected in more effective work and service
To offer resources and retreats that help women pause (Selah)
and love God more deeply as they know Him more intimately (Sweet)
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