Three books of the Old Testament—2 Kings, 2 Chronicles, and Isaiah—include the remarkable story of King Hezekiah’s grave illness. He was going to die. He knew it, all those around him knew it, and God even sent a prophet to make certain the king put his affairs in order, because he was going to die.
But the king pleaded with God, and the prophet had not even left the palace grounds before God told him to turn around and deliver a new message to Hezekiah: “I will give you fifteen more years.”
“I need a sign, so that I can be sure God will do this,” said Hezekiah.
In answer, God made the sundial go crazy—the shadow marking the passing of time moved backwards. Like turning back time! (I thought that was kind of a cool touch by God.)
In three days, King Hezekiah had recovered, and he lived fifteen more years.
I was intrigued by this story: What would it be like to have absolute assurance from God Himself that He was going to give me exactly fifteen more years to live? Many of us have probably pondered a similar question. If I had one year to live, how would I spend that allotted time? You may know a person who has been diagnosed with a terminal illness, and you wonder, If that were me, what would I do with the months I have left? Or you might already be faced with just such a decision, knowing that your time here is limited.
More and more I am intrigued by another thought: I, too, have received a message from God that He will extend my life. So have you. However, instead of a message that I have limited time, Jesus brought this message for everyone: Those who belong to Him will live on forever.
“I tell you the truth, those who listen to my message and believe in God who sent me have eternal life. They will never be condemned for their sins, but they have already passed from death into life…The Father has life in himself, and he has granted that same life-giving power to his Son” (John 5:24, 26). NLT
The Son of God is very clear as He tells us: “Listen to my message and believe. Then you will never be condemned for your sins and you have eternal life.” Jesus Christ holds the key. He holds life.
This is hope: The marking of your time on earth by days and years does not measure your life. The God who does not lie has made a firm promise to His children that they will live beyond years, beyond numbers, and beyond time. Listen. Believe Jesus. He can bestow life that goes on when flesh and blood ends.
And when we contemplate that promise, how will we spend our days?