“David went down with his men to fight
against the Philistines, and he became exhausted.” 2 Sam 21:15
Kathy and I went to a viewing of a friend who passed away at age sixty five. The man used to be a race car
driver and was once racing for a national championship, but he was forced into
early retirement at age fifty by rheumatoid arthritis, which was the disease
that took him away fifteen years later.
People my age are starting to die and soon enough I will probably know more people up there than down here.
This is a depressing thought, isn’t it? At age ninety three, grandma probably
feels a little ill at ease since ninety nine percent of her contemporaries are
most likely gone.
How old was David at this time? Well, he was a lot older than he used to be, that’s for sure. He might have
felt he could still do all the things he used to do in his youth, but there was
no denying he had lost a step. The youth who took on the giant had vanished long
ago and the man who was facing the Philistines in battle was an aging man who
seemed to pose no threat to his enemies.
The hero had grown old and frail.
I am no hero and have never aspired to be one, yet I grow old just the same. I am amazed that I have to drag my
feet when somebody calls me to play tennis, which wasn’t the case at all in the
past. I used to play rain or snow, and enjoyed it thoroughly.
It’s a battle that no one has won. Billions of earthlings, rich or poor, noble or base, have submitted to the
tyranny of time and are now safely tucked away in their graves, and I presume
all of us will be conquered sooner or later. We may be able to keep it at bay
for a short while by doing various things, yet what is to come will eventually
come, and all of us will have to bid farewell to this fair earth, willingly or
“Only through time is time conquered,” wrote Eliot.
Surely the way to conquer time isn’t through better health care or physically exercises. That’s only a short
term solution by which we may win some battles but not the war. Through the
mighty power of the Lord Jesus, Lazarus won a big battle by coming out from the
grave, but death still caught up with him some years later. What we need isn’t
“reformation” of our bodies, but transformation. That’s why the apostle Paul
made the statement: “For physical training is of some value,
but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present
life and the life to come.”
“What is the only way to defy time and death?” we ask. Surely it is not through physical exercise, to which
many people devote a lot of their time. They sweat buckets running or riding in
a gym, whipping their bodies into top shape, yet their spirits may be shirking
to the size of a midget. “What’s seen is temporal; but what’s unseen is
eternal.” I think we ought to be reminded of this from time to time when we are
laboring to conquer time.