Life is precious. It is also fragile. It is to be regarded as sacred and God-given. Indeed, life is a gift, a reward, “Behold, children are a gift of the LORD; the fruit of the womb is a reward” (Psalm 127:3). Since life is such a precious and sacred gift, it should be celebrated as such. A pregnancy is the news of a new life and that life is a person from conception. The Lord has intricately and masterfully knit our parts and systems together into miraculous living creatures.
Psalm 139:13-16 states, “For You formed my inward parts; You wove me in my mother’s womb. I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Wonderful are Your works and my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from You when I was made in secret and skillfully wrought in the depths of the earth; Your eyes have seen my unformed substance; And in Your book were all written the days that were ordained for me, when as yet there was not one of them.” But human beings are much more than mere living creatures. We are created in the image of the living God and with an eternal soul; every one has an eternal destiny. And because God is the giver and sustainer of life, all lives belong to Him.
Our Heavenly Creator imbues us with His breath of life at birth and we die when He removes it (Genesis 2:7; Daniel 5:23). He sustains us with the gift of every heartbeat. We cannot live one day beyond the number He has chosen for us. Job 14:5 says, “Since his days are determined, the number of his months is with You; and his limits You have set so that he cannot pass.” In other words, as I have heard former Moody Church Pastor, Erwin Lutzer say, “We are all born with an expiration date which has been pre-determined by God.” It is not the prerogative of people to intervene and take life at any point.
If we were to continue to read Psalm 139 we would see that God’s view of us is that we are precious from conception. He knows absolutely everything about us even before we are born!
God’s ways are beyond our comprehension and some are kept secret from us for our own sakes. Deuteronomy 29:29 declares, “The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our sons forever, that we may observe all the words of this law.” What God has revealed in His Word is enough for us because He has revealed all we truly need to know for this life. The New Testament states it this way, “Seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence” (2 Peter 1:3). In Christ and through His Word, we have all that we need to live obediently in this world. Therefore, as we study these topics we look to the Word of God for the answers. The fact that a culture or an historical time period might espouse a different or even opposite view does not change the absolute authority and immutability of God’s Word.
Our Heavenly Father knows what knowledge is too great for us or too difficult to bear. Certainly knowing the length of our lives in advance would be one such burden. How much greater a burden if we knew that our children would precede us in death. When my husband and I learned that our 18-year-old had cancer our first thoughts were that we wished it were us instead. Our second was, “This is the Lord’s will for us and we will walk through it by His grace.” The fragility of life became so real to us. We had received the news just two weeks after Lee’s High School graduation. As I walked by the posters of his life in photos prepared for his graduation celebration, I could not help but imagine as a young mother thinking, “This sweet little three-year-old will have cancer in 15 years or this teeming-with-life twelve-year-old will have cancer in six years. Had I had this knowledge in advance it would have been even more difficult. After rigorous treatments, we praise God that He has healed Lee from cancer and fourteen years later he is still clear.
How much more difficult to endure the treatments and then lose the one you love? Even if elderly, the process is difficult to bear. Or to suddenly lose your loved one with no preparation or advanced warning? No chance to express love, say goodbye, ask forgiveness for hurts and wrongs—and no chance to encourage one another with our ultimate hope in Christ of being reunited for all eternity in heaven.
The reality is that death will claim us all. However, we can know that in Christ, death will not ultimately be victorious. That is why Solomon could say in Ecclesiastes 7:1a, “Better is the day of one’s death than the day of one’s birth.” At birth, we have all of life ahead of us and with that all the struggles of living in an unrighteous world. However, upon death the believer is immediately ushered into the presence of God where there is no more pain, suffering, or anguish. God comforts the surviving believers with His unfathomable grace.
Losing a loved one leaves a gaping hole. And since pain exists upon the earth those who remain grieve their loss. However, believers in Christ do not grieve as those who have no hope. I Thessalonians 4:13, “But we do not want you to be uninformed, brethren, about those who are asleep, so that you will not grieve as do the rest who have no hope.” I find comfort in knowing that the Bible describes the death of believers as “falling asleep” (I Thessalonians 4:14) and that God takes special notice of their deaths. “Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of His godly ones” (Psalm 116:15).
All life is precious to God and He ordains the full destiny and purpose for each life from conception. The Lord revealed his special plans for Jeremiah’s life in Jeremiah 1:4-5, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you; before you were born I sanctified you; I ordained you a prophet to the nations.”
God has a purpose for each life even if that life appears (to us) to have ended prematurely. Tomorrow we will continue this discussion with an emphasis on the eternal destiny of children.