Thus all the days of Methuselah were nine hundred sixty-nine years; and he died.
Many of you may recall that one of my favorite hymns is Our God, Our Help in Ages Past. The third verse is: “A thousand ages in Thy sight are like an evening gone, short as the watch that ends the night before the rising sun.” According to Yahoo.com, an age varies in length. They cited the Bronze Age as lasting 1500 years, the Gilded Age lasting 22 years and the “I own the newest computer” age as lasting 6 months. A thousand ages, even given the shortest age lasting 6 months, amount to 500 years. That is a very long time for us, but a very short time in God’s sight.
As of today (this being written October 12, 2017) Gertrude Weaver of the United States is the oldest living person at 119 years old. That is a very long time for us, but that is a short time compared to the length of years that Methuselah was given. Methuselah lived more than 8 times the length of Gertrude Weaver’s current life. That is indeed a very long time. The Psalmist declared “The years of our life are seventy years, or perhaps eighty if we are strong.” (90:10) Thus, Methuselah and Gertrude Weaver certainly are strong.
It is a great blessing to be given a long life and to enjoy good health for those years is an even greater blessing. The challenge for those who are graced with long life is often living without many who have shared the person’s life. The elders can certainly reminisce and share their stories of their lives with younger generations. Most often the elders have sustained great losses. The person may have been a widow or a widower for a number of years. He or she may have outlived siblings, children, or even grandchildren. Most, if not all, of their friends and contemporaries have died and so they are no longer able to say: “Remember when we …” They miss retelling the events of their lives to people with whom they shared those times. The childhood friends, the school classmates, the buddies from military service, and their college classmates often have died before them. All of these are significant losses and present great challenges!
O Lord, we thank You for all the days of life that You give us. We celebrate with those who reach the century mark or beyond. Regardless of how many days we are given, help us to appreciate each day You give us and to remember to make the most of each day … to be alert to the beauty and wonder, to cherish the experiences and opportunities we have, and to make new friends and keep the old, one is silver, the other is gold. In Christ’s name, we pray. Amen.