I think perhaps the reason it is so easy for me to go sideways when considering the possibility of “premature” death is because, “That kind of knowledge is too much for me; it’s so high above me that I can’t fathom it.” (Psalm 139:6). God set man to rule over the earth and cultivate it (Genesis 2:15), and we are commanded to be good stewards of what we are given (Matthew 25:14-30). Obedience to this would include not abusing or neglecting our bodies. But no matter how well we tend to our bodies, our lifespan is out of our control:
“All the days ordained for me
were written in your book
before one of them came to be.”
Many years ago, a dear friend was killed. The loss was abrupt and devastating. She was so young and so beautiful and just beginning her life. She had been married less than a year and had a beautiful newborn daughter. It was too easy for me to blame the old drunkard and a foolish college kid for the deaths that happened that day. I didn’t understand why God would do that, how could a good and kind God orchestrate something so horrible? That is the fundamental question, isn’t it? The answer is, because He is God (omnipotent) and He knows everything (omniscient). Timothy Keller said, “If we knew what God knows, we would ask exactly for what he gives.” But I am not God, so I don’t understand why He gives what He gives. I don’t understand why my friend died that day, however I do personally know the God who took her. Being a Christian means I have 24/7 direct access to the God of the universe (John 16:26-27) and that I have inherited God’s Spirit to speak truth and comfort to me (John 14:15-26, 15:26, 16:4-15). Pretty awesome perks, huh? I have partaken of these gifts and felt the Spirit minister truth and peace to me. Time and time again, I have seen God’s kindness and mercy demonstrated in tangible ways in my life. I don’t need to drive myself crazy with worry about when my time will come — I know my God has it all under control. There is nothing that can throw Him a curve ball. There are no surprises for Him. He holds me (who He loves) and my life (which He gave) in His omni-capable hands. To worry about death is hypocrisy. To worry and grasp at my life is to say that I don’t think my God is great and wise enough to do what is best. It is to say that He doesn’t care for me — but I know He is and does.
In His kindness and wisdom, He did not give the power of life and death to me — it would be too heavy a burden for me. I do not know and have not seen everything as He does. I do not love myself as much as He does. How would I know what would be best? In His mercy, God commanded me to do well with what I can control and leave everything else to Him. I will continue to eat wonderful foods in moderation, to stay active so I can serve Him well, I will continue to get help from various healthcare professionals when my body is having troubles, but I may not grasp greedily for more life then what He has already ordained. My lifespan has already been written in His book, I cannot change that number (Matthew 26:25-34). Who better to control my life and death then the One who overcame death!
My God has delivered me from the bondage of responsibilities I can not handle and has given me everything I need to overcome any anxiety I might have. He has given me proof of His character, His love, and His abilities. He has given me His Spirit to calm and comfort me with truth at all times . He has even given me brothers and sisters who kindly, diligently pray for me. They also comfort and speak truth to me in ways I cannot ignore. My God has gone above and beyond what is required to assure me that everything is going to be okay. I am free from worry and free to joyfully live out my life. My God is awesome!
“You’ll have trouble in the world. But cheer up! I have defeated the world!”
-Jesus in John 16:33