“. . .But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.” Genesis 2:17
On September 12th, HealthDay News came out with some good information. According to statistics compiled from a new federal study, Americans are living longer. True, Americans don’t live as long as people in 40 other countries, but we are going in the right direction.
Life expectancy in the United States is at an all-time high. Back in 1955, the average American could expect to keep kicking until he was 69.6 years old. By the year 2005, that same average American could anticipate sending out invitations for his 77th birthday.
Now, if you happen to be Adam or Methuselah, you might not find those figures to be all that impressive. After all, when you’re 900 years old, an octogenarian is still a wet-behind-the-ears kid. But since we’re not Adam or Methuselah, we have to be pretty pleased. We’re living longer.
To hear some of the scholars and scientists react to this news about longevity, a person might think the sky is the limit. Donna Hoyert, from the National Center for Health Statistics, said she expects a “steady increase in life expectancy to continue.” That’s what she said. Who knows where this trend will stop. Maybe the average person can live to be 100, or 300, or 500. If humanity gets good enough, and smart enough, and creative enough, we might never have to die at all.
How’s that for a bunch of baloney? The truth is, since the day Adam and Eve ate from the forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden, the death rate for humanity is close to 100%. Somewhere, somehow, someway, something is going to get us.
Sure, medicine can do great things. But when one disease or infirmity is rolled back, another seems to surge forward and balances things out. Deaths from cancer, stroke, and heart attacks may be decreasing, but deaths from Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s are on the rise.
So, if death is gonna getcha, might I not suggest all of us need to be first “got” by the Savior. We need to be “got” by the Savior, who can take us through the valley of the shadow of death. We need to be “got” by the Savior, who assures us: “Because I live, you shall live also.” We need to be “got” by the Savior, who gave His life, so we might really, truly, live forever.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, I give thanks for the wisdom, medicine, and education, which allow the average person to live longer. Now, I ask that all of those lives be lived in You. Help us remember, in spite of medical advances, only Your Son can promise life eternal. In His Name, I pray. Amen.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries