What can we learn from death?

(Photo: Unsplash/Daria Shevtsova)

"So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom"(Psalm 90:12).

This is one of my favourite scriptures because it is an extremely sobering gem. I have been challenged by this verse for a few years now and I think even more so in this time, in light of all that is happening.

Moses is responsible for this psalm and he wrote in the previous verses about the frailty and brevity of life. He would have been surrounded by death, as he traveled to the promised land and he would have grown acquainted with loss and grief. I believe there are many lessons that we can learn from death, by peering into its meaning and observing the gifts that it can bring.

In verses 7-11, Moses reminds the Israelites of God's response to their tendency to disobey Him. The wages of sin have always been death, therefore God's wrath was naturally kindled against Israel for their propensity to go against His laws. Within their own heart and by their own strength, they did not possess the ability to live up to God's standards. So, the Old Testament is filled with God's anger being meted out to the disobedient Israelite group, as they failed to follow God's command and persisted in living how they wanted to.

We all have that tendency to be consumed with our own way of doing things in the years granted to us.There is, however, a truth that is so real to us now, that is, "but the gift of God is eternal life, through Jesus Christ our Lord."  Through his death we were granted a gift we never deserved.

Through Christ's death on the cross, though gruesome, humiliating and inhumane as it was, it provided access for us to live a new life. Through his death we can also garner so many lessons on love, purpose, sacrifice and obedience. As we peer into the death of Jesus, he reveals to us the purest form of unconditional love. Though his time here on earth was not threescore and ten, he showed us how to live a full life, considering its brevity. Each day a God-honouring response to the Life-Giver.

Lessons from death

There have been alarmingly large numbers of deaths across the world due to this pandemic. Psalm chapter 90, verse 12 has been forcing me to look intently at the frailty of life, amidst the big knot in my chest and the tendency to dismiss thoughts like these as uncomfortable.There is the temptation to look away from what is happening, because it is scary and unnerving. There is also the temptation to become indifferent by the increased death and sickness and paint people's responses as exaggeration or undue hysteria.

We as humans have also become experts in distracting ourselves from big picture moments that were intended to grab our attention. I believe there are lessons we can learn from this time. There are things I believe God is whispering as we choose to not dismiss this attention grabbing moment in history. I also think that our prayer should be like Moses, that as we are surrounded by death, that in looking at the brevity of life, we might gain wisdom and learn lessons that will inform our days on earth.

Courtesy of Press Service International