Throngs of people pushed their way past one another, jockeying for a position to secure one last glance of the beloved singer. My father and I were viewing his funeral on television. It was quite a spectacle. I was 9 years old and this was the grandest funeral I had ever witnessed. As we surveyed the winding lines of people entering and leaving the church, my father remarked to me, “You know, son, when I die there will be a line around the block for my funeral!”
I was startled by my father’s comment. He was a very humble man, never boasting of his accomplishments. I worked in his office for several summers and admired his unique ability to connect with his patients, easily conversing with every social class, income level, and occupation. His gentle disarming touch eliminated the usual fear of dentists for all who were fortunate to receive his care. If my father had passed away at that moment, his prediction would have undoubtedly come true. I smiled and nodded in agreement, uncomfortable to discuss such a serious topic at my young age.
The years passed and my father retired in his early 60’s. He lived for twenty more years, passing away at the age of 82 years. At his funeral, the majority of people in attendance were immediate family and perhaps ten close friends and former patients, no more than 50 people. I lamented over what my father told me so many years ago. There was no line around the block composed of patients and friends queuing to pay their last respects to my father. The sad reality was most of his friends, patients, and even family had passed away.
The years of our life are seventy, or even by reason of strength eighty; yet their span is but toil and trouble; they are soon gone, and we fly away.
Psalms 90:10 (ESV)
My father lived a rich and full life but in the end, nearly all those whom he loved and cared for were gone. In his last years, he would often remark that another one of his friends or former patients had passed away, after reading their obituary in the newspaper. Although he never again brought up his comment about a line around the block, the pangs of sorrow were readily visible on his face as he reminisced.
Many, like my father, may feel abandoned as we reach the end of our life. God does not abandon us. Our lifespans are limited on this earth for a sobering reason, to gain wisdom.
So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom.
Psalms 90:12 (ESV)
The greatest wisdom we can ever attain is to confess and repent of our sins and accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior. If all of our loved ones also come to this same salvation, we will someday be reunited in Heaven, joining a line of souls all praising and worshipping God for eternity.
Love and trust the Lord; seek His will in your life.