So why did he reign just sixteen years? Why did he die at age 41?
In our temporal-centered mindset, we view such a brief life as being cut short. We tend to imagine all the things they might have done, if only their life hadn’t ended when it did.
But God’s Word tells us in Psalm 139:16, “Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.”
We may not achieve all the goals that we set for ourselves on this earth, but we will finish everything that God has written for us. Some of those accomplishments may be reached not in spite of our passing, but through it.
That’s hard. And from our earthly perspective, we may even view it as cruel. But this life is a vapor. Even if we live to 120 years old, it is the blink of an eye compared to eternity. If that blink has eternal impact, will we look back and wish it had lingered?
I’ve walked with friends through the loss of a child at birth, in preschool, in kindergarten, just before graduation, and on the eve of adulthood. I’ve lost my own babies before I even had the joy of holding them. I know the devastating hole left in a heart by their passing.
But I’ve seen God use even mourning to fulfill a parent’s dreams for their child—not on this earth, but in ways that echo through eternity.
Seeing the impact of your child’s brief life bringing life to others doesn’t fill your empty arms. It doesn’t fill the empty chair at the table. It doesn’t overcome the sense of them being missing from every holiday or celebration, casting a shadow of longing where there should only be joy.
But what this chapter, and this life, proclaims is that even in the briefest story, there is purpose. In the shortest life, there is eternal impact.