Are you going to live a long time?

“Gigi,” my five-and-a-half-year-old granddaughter, Lauren, asked as I tucked her into bed, “are you going to live a long time?” 

“I certainly hope so,” I said. 

 “Unless you get like Mr. Arnold next door who, you know. . .” She hesitated before saying the word, “. . . died?” 

Her question hung in the air, and, to be honest, I wasn’t sure how to answer it. She had apparently realized that people don’t live forever—on this earth, anyway. Two desires struggled within me. I wanted to be honest, because she needs to be able to trust me. But I also wanted to protect her from the fear of losing someone she loves. 

“Sometimes, people do get sick and die,” I admitted. “But usually not until they’re very old. Mr. Arnold was more than 80.” 

She nodded slowly, unconvinced. 

 “Every morning I pray and ask God to keep all our family healthy and strong," I said. "You can do that too. We can trust God to know what’s best.” 

“Sometimes I get scared,” she said. 

“I do, too. Did you know there’s a verse in the Bible that tells us what to do when we get scared? Psalm 56:3: ‘When I am afraid, I will trust in you.’ It reminds me that God is wise, and kind, and we can trust him.” 

Comforted, she snuggled down under the sheet and closed her eyes. I kissed her forehead and whispered goodnight. 

“Gigi,” she whispered sleepily as I crept out the door, “how old are you?” 

Sometimes I feel a lot like Lauren. When I peer into an unknown future, fear clutches at my heart and sends my thoughts down dark and scary paths. I wonder what my death will look like. 

Will it come swiftly in an accident or slowly by disease? Will I live out a full life or step into heaven sooner? Will I lose my mind to Alzheimer’s or my body to aging? 

Only God knows. 

In his sovereignty, there are no premature deaths. All the days of our lives were written in his book before one of them came to be (Psalm 139:16). And although only God knows the number of our days, he calls us to capture each one of them and use them for good. 

“Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom,” the psalmist prayed in Psalm 90:12. It’s not healthy to live each day in fear that it’s our last, but we also shouldn’t fritter our lives away as carelessly as a lottery winner spends money after a jackpot. However many days there are, one thing is certain—each one is precious. We must savor and spend them wisely. 

Whether we’re as old as Mr. Arnold or as young as Lauren, may we glorify God with each day he gives us.

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  1. Great post. With the exception of laughing out loud with little Miss Lauren's last question, this was very insightful. How often do we let our desire to be kind override our desire to be trustworthy and honest? Wonderful lesson there Gigi.

    1. It is a constant struggle, J.D., and not just when we talk with five year olds. This is why we need to pray every day, "Set a watch over my mouth" and trust God to help us speak the truth in love. Thanks for chiming in today.

  2. Amen. My Mama used to say that she would not be old until she hit 100 years of age. She lived to be 91 years old. I am thankful for valuable life lessons taught to me by my parents.

    1. I like your mama's attitude, Melissa. I don't plan to be "old" for a loooooong time!

  3. Sweet Lauren! I can just picture her asking these questions!

    1. She's a thinker, that one . . . :)


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