Question: what is the biggest lesson we can learn from the Coronavirus pandemic? Certainly there are multiple lessons to be learned, but one of the key lessons is that we are all mortal (Hebrews 9:27). Just as we didn’t orchestrate our birthday, nor can we orchestrate our death day.
Several years ago, a good friend of mine, James Edel, told me about a book he was reading called, Denial of Death by Ernest Becker. I never found the time to read it, however, I do like the title. I think you will agree that most people live in denial of death. While everyone knows that death is inevitable, few people live their lives with a view towards eternity.
According to the latest statistics, over 500,000 people worldwide have now died from COVID-19. Some people might question the accuracy of such statistics, but no one can deny that a lot of people died who were not planning on dying so quickly.
One of the interesting things about death is that it doesn’t discriminate. Yes, COVID-19 has taken far more elderly folk than young folk, however, lots of young people still die. A few months ago, I read a biography on D.L. Moody. The author, Lyle Dorsett, included a quote from Moody in reaction to the great Chicago fire of 1871:
“It seemed to me I had a glimpse in the fire of what the Day of Judgment will be, when I saw the flames rolling down the streets, twenty and thirty feet high, consuming everything in its march that did not flee. I saw the millionaire and the beggar fleeing alike. There was no difference. That night great men, learned men, wise men, all fled alike. There was no difference. And when God comes to the judge the world there will be no difference.”
No one can escape this. Each day brings us one day closer to death.
While reading Psalm 39, I was struck by verses 4-7: “O Lord, make me to know my end and what is the measure of my days; let me know how fleeting I am! Behold, you have made my days a few handbreadths, and my lifetime is as nothing before you. Surely all mankind stands as a mere breath! Surely a man goes about as a shadow! Surely for nothing they are in turmoil; man heaps up wealth and does not know who will gather! And now, O Lord, for what do I wait? My hope is in you.”
Instead of desiring to forget about his mortality, King David was praying that God would teach him to number his days. David didn’t want to waste the precious few days God granted him. I have often drawn inspiration from the 70 resolutions that Jonathan Edwards made while still a young man. Let me give you just a taste of these resolutions. #5. “Resolved, never to lose one moment of time; but improve it the most profitable way I possibly can.” #7. “Resolved, never to do anything, which I should be afraid to do, if it were the last hour of my life.” #9. “Resolved, to think much on all occasions of my own dying, and of the common circumstances which attend death.”
Friend, you don’t know how long you will live. You might live to be 100, or you might die tomorrow. Whatever the case, life is short when set against the backdrop of eternity. Let us strive to “make the best use of the time” (Ephesians 5:16) and to live our lives in service to our King. Spend each day looking to Jesus in faith (Hebrews 12:2, Isaiah 45:22), always remembering that it could be your very last.