In the first chapter of Job we have a description of the kind of man that he was and of the tragedy that beset him. "...This man was blameless and upright; he feared God and shunned evil. He had seven sons and three daughters, and he owned 7,000 sheep, 3,000 camels, 500 yoke of oxen and 500 donkeys. He was the greatest man among all the people of the East." (Job 1:1-3) Job was dear to God because of his heart for Him. However, the Lord allowed the hedge that was around Job to be removed to prove to Satan that he would remain faithful.
Initially, all of Job's livestock and servants were taken from him by the Sabeans, the Chaldeans and a fire. Then all his children were killed by a "mighty wind." Job's response indicated the depth of his honor and love for the Lord. "At this, Job got up and tore his robe and shaved his head. Then he fell to the ground in worship and said: 'Naked I came from my mother's womb, and naked I will depart. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised.'" (Job 1:20-21)
This Scripture came to mind on Thursday as I processed what is happening in our world and in my own family and circle of close friends. Most of us are following our presidential guidelines for the war on Coronavirus by quarantining ourselves for two weeks. In the United States alone, as of today there are over 30,000 people who have contracted the virus and 400 who have died from it. Communication with family and friends is being done primarily by telephone or social media platforms. Fear and panic has struck many as we can see by empty shelves at the grocery store. Our financial means of support is being stretched. Travel by any means of public transportation has come to a halt. We do not know what the future holds. And yet, amid all of this, life and death go on.
I was contemplating the fragility of life and remembering that we have no guarantees for tomorrow as I received notice that the husband of a dear friend died in his home of an unexpected heart attack. My friend is left shocked and devastated and unable to have a memorial service with friends to comfort her because of the virus that is spreading around the world. The same day that my friend died, we received news of the birth of a great grandson. Samuel Dillon was brought into this world and speaks to us of new life and encouragement. Even the meaning of his name brings joy. Samuel means "heard of God." It reminds me that God hears our cries for help in our time of need. Scripture confirms this. Look at 2 Chronicles 7:14 to see God's prescription for help when the times are dark. "If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and will heal their land."
Especially during seasons like these, we must remember that every day is a gift from God. We cannot count on tomorrow, so we must make the most of today. Job said this very thing: "Man's days are determined; you have decreed the number of his months and have set limits he cannot exceed." (Job 14:5) Psalm 90 is described as a prayer of Moses. In Verse 12 he asks God, "Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom." King David repeats this in Psalm 39. "Show me, Lord, my life's end and the number of my days...Everyone is but a breath, even those who seem secure." (Verses 4-5)
As Christians we need to focus on the eternal and live our lives to bless the Lord. While we are on earth, we have only one opportunity to live for the purpose for which we were made. Let us take every day as a gift from God to love and serve Him and to do the same for those around us. Don't miss an opportunity to say, "I LOVE YOU!" to your family and friends.
Joan E. Mathias