By Tabi Julius Izza
What is mankind that you are mindful of them, human beings that you care for them? (Psalm 8:4)
Life is as bristle as a glass that sparkling as it might be, only a push suddenly breaks it; as fading as a flower, despite its seeming great ‘glory’ in colour and scent, only last but for a morning and fades in the evening. Job very much knew this and while debating about the calamities that befell him with his four friends, he acknowledged that mankind is like flower, “They spring up like flowers and wither away; like fleeting shadows, they do not endure.” (Job 14:2). And the Psalmist David straightforwardly puts it this way: “The life of mortals is like grass, they flourish like a flower of the field” (Psalm 103:15) identifying us to be mortals.
This week I read a very satirical news mocking president Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe as one who is immortal under the eye catching heading: Scientist Confirm President Mugabe Can’t Die! He was born to rule Forever  The news went on to claim that scientist fail to find any trace of decay in president Mugabe’s DNA and so he will NEVER DIE. President Mugabe has just turned 92 and continues to have the political will to lead his country. Whereas this was a very satirical article with the aim of mocking the president and denouncing his unwillingness to leave the presidential throne despite his age, there were people who self-proclaimed themselves immortals but yet they are no more, they are long dead. For no one born of a woman can claim immortality save Jesus who has a glorified resurrected body that is beyond decay.
I have started by comparing life to a glass that is very bristle, it can break up at any time. Many prominent people have unexpectedly passed on while in action and millions of the infamous pass on every year in the manner but unrecognised. The 66 years old Congolese world star musician Jules Shungu Wembadio Pene Kikumba (a.k.a Papa Wemba) is a fresh example to mention. While performing on stage in Abidjan before several hundreds of his fans (I used to be one), all was supposedly well. He suddenly collapsed and efforts to have his life saved were futile as he breathed his last and couldn’t be resuscitated.
Papa Wemba just joins a list of other prominent performers who met their demise while performing. Giuseppe Sinopoli died of heart attack in 2001 while performing in Berlin, Funk ostentação, Israel Yinon, Lasse Eriksson, Mitsuhara Misawa, Miriam Makeba and many others to mention but a few. These sudden deaths are always sad but they not only occur but actually define what we are, that we are merely mortals, like grass that withers any time.
Despite our mortality, there is a glimpse of hope, hope that never fades, hope that goes beyond life and death, hope that is eternal, hope that is found in the love of an eternal God. The hope is this, that God cares for you, mortal as you may be. David pondered on this love and care of God and he reasoned: What is mankind that you are mindful of them, human beings that you care for them? (Psalm 8:4).
However, it might sound very ironical to speak about the love and care of God amidst such scenarios off sudden death, pain and suffering in this present age. The question that many people like to put forth is: why should God permit us to suffer and experience great pain if he really cares? More interestingly, the people who claim a belonging to him, who identify with him as their father are never discriminated from the suffering, in fact sometimes they even suffer more. Job is an excellent example.
Let’s get this, that “It is not a question of God allowing or not allowing things to happen. It is part of living. Some things we do to ourselves, other things we do to each other. Our Father knows about every bird which falls to the ground, but He does not always prevent it from falling. What are we to learn from this? That our response to what happens is more important than what happens. Here is a mystery: one man’s experience drives him to curse God, while another man’s identical experience drives him to bless God. Your response to what happens is more important than what happens.” –Chip Brogden. So sometimes it is good that we suffer because suffering is a sign of life, that we are living. “If you suffer, thank God! — it is a sure sign that you are alive.” –Elbert Hubbard
I am not typically writing about suffering, I am writing about longevity of life, that it is short lived. Twenty, thirty, fifty, seventy, ninety or so years are relatively short years. More so, the manner in which this life end is always very mysterious, especially when it comes to sudden deaths. God loves you and cares for, in his love he but only desires that you respond to this love by loving him too. Through Christ, he demonstrated his love for us that even when we are yet sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8). He implores you to acknowledge him as the source of life, and not only life that is temporal, but life that is eternal; for those who believe in him shall not DIE but have ETERNAL LIFE (John 3:16).
It is therefore wise to live both the few years in this life and the eternal life in Christ. Life is only in Christ, anything out of him is but for a while and will varnish. Will you consider this care of God for you and acknowledge him in order to live beyond the temporal? Remember “The life of mortals is like grass, they flourish like a flower of the field” (Psalm 103:15).