Joshua 22:10–24:33; 2 Corinthians 13:11–14; Psalm 60:1–12
If you knew it was time to die, to say goodbye for good, what would you say? How would your final hoorah sound?
In an episode of Northern Exposure, Dr. Joel Fleischman is convinced that he is dying. Joel, who is usually conservative, begins risking everything: he drives a motorcycle way too fast without a helmet, gets a ticket that he rips up, and eventually crashes the bike—all while feeling no remorse. He then returns to his office to learn that he is actually fine; his doctor’s initial inclination was incorrect. Almost immediately, he becomes angry that he didn’t know his fate earlier. In his recklessness, he could have prematurely ended his life.
The risks you take when you think your life is over are quite different from those you’re willing to take when you think you’re fine. The things you say, the person you are, would be very different if you knew tomorrow were your last day.
Joshua, who led Israelites into the promised land, knew his end was coming. As an old man, he commanded the Israelites: “But hold fast to Yahweh your God … Yahweh has driven out before you great and strong nations; and as for you, nobody has withstood you to this day. One of your men put to flight a thousand, for Yahweh your God is fighting for you, just as he promised you” (Josh 23:8–10).
Paul made a similar remark: “For we rejoice whenever we are weak, but you are strong, and we pray for this: your maturity” (2 Cor 13:9). Paul realized that maturity in Christ will always put us in the right place in the end. He concluded his letter to the Corinthians by expanding upon this message: “Finally, brothers [and sisters], rejoice, be restored, be encouraged, be in agreement, be at peace, and the God of love and peace will be with you” (2 Cor 13:11).
What would you say if you were Joel, Joshua, or Paul? What would you do? As Christians, the response should be the same no matter how long we have to live; Christ could come tomorrow. Does that thought give you joy or great fear?
Whenever we experience pain, grief, or encounter enemies, the oppositions of life seem to distract us from our great purpose in Christ. They mask the brevity of our time on earth. Perhaps this is why the psalmist puts it best: “Give us help against the adversary, for the help of humankind is futile. Through God we will do valiantly, and it is he who will tread down our enemies” (Psa 60:11–12).
What hope are you currently placing in the futility of humankind? What actions can you take to refocus your hope on Christ?
John D. Barry
 Barry, J. D., & Kruyswijk, R. (2012). Connect the Testaments: A One-Year Daily Devotional with Bible Reading Plan. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.