LIFE is too SHORT for us to WASTE it AWAY: "For when a few years are finished, I shall go the way of no return. My spirit is broken, my days are extinguished, the grave is ready for me." (Job 16:22; 17:1)
Job was a troubled man. He was living a life of relative ease and prosperity with his wife, seven sons and three daughters as the "greatest of all the people of the East" (1:3). All this changed for Job, when unknown to him, God allowed him to be tested by the adversary Satan who had challenged God that Job was faithful because God had built a hedge of protection around Job and had blessed the work of his hands (1:9-10). God not only allowed Satan to deprive Job of all his material possessions but also allowed him to take away all his ten children as well. When Satan failed in his first challenge, he brought the stakes much higher and declared to God that Job will curse God if his good health is affected as well (2:4-5).
God was so much confident regarding the integrity of His servant Job that He allowed Satan to strike Job with "with painful boils from the sole of his foot to the crown of his head" (2:7). Apart from the fact that Job had lost almost everything in his earthly life (even his wife had suggested that he curse God and die, see 2:9), he had to keep company with three of his pessimistic friends who turned out to be “miserable comforters” (16:2) and charged him with the worst possible accusations ever imagined. It is therefore not surprising that Job started thinking about his mortality, and became acutely aware that his life was very short (16:22). It was the sudden loss of his family, wealth, and health helped Job to gain a more clear perspective on life—and death!
Thus, Job longed for death as a release from his constant pain (14:13). He came to see his life as passing more swiftly than a skilled weaver’s shuttle as it runs through the loom (7:6). In the similar manner, he compared his life to the existence of a flower or a passing shadow (14:1–2). This is a better perspective that we should also have as well – that our life is too short for us to waste it away!
The Bible is replete with many verses that show that our life is too short. The sweet Psalmist David describes human mortality in the following words: "As for man, his days are like grass; as a flower of the field, so he flourishes. For the wind passes over it, and it is gone, and its place remembers it no more" (Ps. 103:15-16). Again, "man is like a breath; his days are like a passing shadow" (Ps. 144:4). This thought is re-emphasized by Apostle James as follows: "For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away" (James 4:14). All these scriptures should help us to gain a better perspective about the brevity of life, which in turn can help us do a better job of living the time that is allotted to us. We don’t have to go through the kinds of sufferings that Job did to gain that perspective about our lives!
Let us clearly understand that our life is a loan from God who breathed into the first man (Adam) the breath of life when he became a living person (Gen. 2:7). It is through Adam that every living person was born on this earth. God, who gave life to Adam, and by extension, to all of us, can also take it away. Let us reflect on the solemn truth with the Psalmist that our times are in the hands of God (Ps. 31:15). Since our life is too short to waste it away in frivolous living, let us earnestly pray to God along with Moses that He would teach us to number our days that we may gain a heart of wisdom as well.