I turned 37 this year, and I already feel age creeping up on me.
I know (and pray) I have many more years left on this earth, but I also know that 40 is just around the corner. And with the passing years, the likelihood of some type of tragic disease is just around the corner.
This isn’t just my opinion of the aging process; Solomon describes as much in Ecclesiastes 12:1-8.
Maybe that’s why God’s promise to Abraham — tucked in between all the other promises He makes to him — is so comforting.
Who wouldn’t want to be guaranteed a long life?
What Will Abraham Accomplish?
Abraham must’ve known that he would live for a while at least, because Isaac had not been born yet. That wouldn’t happen for a few more chapters.
But what else will happen in Abraham’s life?
For starters, he’ll vouch for Sodom and Gomorrah and go on a quest to find even five righteous people in those towns (which he fails).
He meets Abimelech and lies (again) about his relationship with Sarah. But later, he also makes a covenant with that same Abimelech for future security so it’s not all bad.
Abraham will be tested to offer Isaac to God on Mt. Moriah, and later task his servant to find a wife for Isaac. He’ll eventually marry a woman named Keturah after Sarah dies and have six more children with her, in addition to the one he also has with Hagar.
Finally, as God told him beforehand, he would die “at a good old age”: 175 years old.
Not a bad life.
Is a Long Life a Blessing?
I’m not a fatalist, but I think there’s also something depressing about a long life. As I’ve talked to those older than me, I know that life will eventually get harder. Your health will fail, your loved ones will die, and you’ll eventually be limited in all you can accomplish.
In short, it’s not always the blessing it’s cracked up to be.
Indeed, sometimes I’ve even found myself jealous of those who have died young. One writer that I follow, Matt Bassford, was diagnosed with ALS a few years ago and died at 44.
He blogged through his disease, detailing every high and low. His last blog was posted after his death, where he encouraged those who were still alive by saying he was “still rooting” for them from Heaven.
What a concept. The idea of being perpetually with God is so comforting, and yet I know (and hope) it doesn’t come anytime soon.
This is the debacle that Paul wrestled with in Philippians 1:21-26. Dying and being with Christ is great, but there’s still work to be done here.
That’s a pickle that all of us deal with. But what a pickle it is.
I Don’t Want to Die…Yet
Despite knowing that Heaven will eventually be my home, I have zero desire to get there yet. I want to watch my kids grow up. I want many more years with my wife. I have so many projects that I want to complete. So many places to see and visit with my loved ones.
I guess the beauty of being a Christian is knowing that as great as this life can get, the life after is even better.
When I finally die some day — hopefully at a “good old age” — I know that I’ll be stepping into something even more beautiful than what I already love in the here and now.
What a comforting thought.