“Lord, remind me how brief my time on earth will be.
Remind me that my days are numbered—
how fleeting my life is.
You have made my life no longer than the width of my hand.
My entire lifetime is just a moment to you;
at best, each of us is but a breath.” (NLT)
In our end is our beginning. When we draw our last breath on earth, it is the end of one chapter of our life story, not the end of the story. The story goes on forever. Death is both an end and a beginning for those whose trust is in Jesus. Death is seen by many as the last great enemy, the thing to be avoided at all costs. And yet it is the doorway to eternal life. It is not the end of life but the beginning of life.
None of this means we all want to die just right now. There are many wonderful reasons for living. This life might have its setbacks but we don’t merely endure it with gritted teeth till we at last die. Paul saw death as a gain, yet he saw life here and now as being in union with Jesus and so preferred to live.
It is in no way morbid to consider our mortality: the psalmist had no such hesitation. God holds our lives in his hands and he has the power of life and death over us. He invites us to live fully and gladly here on earth. He invites us to embrace him and so anticipate life forever in his presence in the new heavens and new earth.
In the words of an old Scottish preacher: “Let us live as people who are prepared to die, and die as people who are prepared to live”.