Bible Society of South Africa

My beginning and my end are in the hands of God - 2 November 2023

By Ewald Schmidt

Bible text(s)

2He sets the time for birth and the time for death,

the time for planting and the time for pulling up,

Ecclesiastes 3:2GNBOpen in Bible reader

In the eternal passage of time, somewhere during the unfolding of millennia, the Lord has chosen to let me be born. Psalm 139 always fills me with wonder. There, from verse 13, David rejoices about the magnificent work of the Lord, when he weaves us in the womb of our mother. In verse 16, he declares that God has written up the days of our lives even before our birth. With this statement, I would love to understand that every day we live is a precious gift that God has granted us. We celebrate the birth of every baby in our family with such joy. The beginning of human life is so filled with hope, we see so much potential that God has placed in every baby being born. Do we remember, in our more challenging days, that our lives are gifts from God, that he is busy sustaining us and guiding us, even on those dark roads?

At the other end our life’s golden thread, the unmentionable … we are going to die – every one of us. And most of us don’t like the idea at all. It is good to live; we have so much dreams and plans that are still unfulfilled.

Our verse today reminds us that there is a time for all of us to die. The grace in life is that we do not know when this time will be. It is our desire that it will be delayed as long as possible. We want to die of old age, when all our opportunities have been explored and used to the maximum extent possible – when we have worn out our bodies and wrung out every ounce of strength from it. However, we do not know when the end will arrive for us.

Death is part of God’s planning. Death reminds us that time flies and it reminds us to make the best use of every day that we are blessed to be alive.

Death is not a light subject for our God. When Jesus stood by the grave of his friend Lazarus, he cried. He knew full well that he would raise him from the dead. Still, he cried over the sorrow and pain that death causes to the people God loves. Psalm 116:15 also reminds us that the death of God’s faithful servant is precious in his eyes – he cares!

Paul reminds us in Philippians 1:21 that when our lives are in Christ, then death is gain to us. We do not have to fear death any longer, when we belong to God. When the Bible talks about a time to die, then we are reminded that our lives belong to God. The beginning and the end of my life on earth are safe in God’s hands. And while it lasts, I want to serve him until my last breath.

Prayer: Lord, thank you for the gift of my life. Thank you that you have planned my existence. Thank you that I may live today. Help me to fill my life with your goodness and grace, that I may serve you with gratefulness every day. Thank you that my eternal future is safe in your hands! Amen

Bible Society of South Africav.4.16.20
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