Saturday, June 9, 2018

Numbering Our Days

12 So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.

13 Return, O Lord, how long? and let it repent thee concerning thy servants.

14 O satisfy us early with thy mercy; that we may rejoice and be glad all our days.

15 Make us glad according to the days wherein thou hast afflicted us, and the years wherein we have seen evil.

16 Let thy work appear unto thy servants, and thy glory unto their children.

17 And let the beauty of the Lord our God be upon us: and establish thou the work of our hands upon us; yea, the work of our hands establish thou it.
Psalm 90:12-17 (KJV)

Columnist Charles Krauthammer, 68, will probably die of abdominal cancer. He’s a medical doctor
and has been a quadriplegic since having an accident during his first year in medical school.

Designer Kate Spade and celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain committed suicide in the past week. I’ll let others talk about depression and the present state of their souls.

The deaths and impending death of these public figures has, naturally, provoked a great deal of sadness. But what it has magnified to me is how little time they and the rest of us have to accomplish whatever it is that God put us here to do.

I've been thinking of and talking to God about this for a number of months, ever since I discovered that an old boyfriend died last year of colon cancer. He was 57.

When we broke up, I was the bad guy.

I hadn’t seen him in many years, so after I read his public obituary which named his employer, I took a chance and wrote to them just to see if they would give me a sense of his work life. It was like hitting the jackpot. They sent me a very personal obit with much more info than the public one. These people loved him and are grieving very much for him.

My old love had retired from a very accomplished Cold War era USAF career and ended up as a math teacher and an accountant for an organization that helps teenagers and young adults get their GEDs. Some of his students were prisoners.

Like Krauthammer, he played the hand he was dealt and played it well. The two men made other people’s lives better and did it in less than seven decades using the personal gifts that God gave them.

I am in awe of this.

In Genesis, we read about Adam and his pre-flood descendants who lived hundreds of years, many close to 1000. We live 100 and change at best and what do we do with it? Even Spade and Bourdain used a portion of their very few years to bring a certain amount of enjoyment to others. That they became rich doing so is irrelevant, unless one remembers that the ability to get wealth is a blessing from God.

And so what are observers to take from this? It’s this: that each of us has some gift from God that we are to exercise to His purposes. It might not be a public purpose of which millions or even hundreds of people are aware. It might be a task known only to Him, but each of us “instinctively” knows what it is. We may have to plow through the circumstances of a broken body – or a broken heart – but the key word is through.

This simple. And hard. But this is what I believe that God wants from each one of us.

UPDATE: Charles Krauthammer passed away on June 21.

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