Virginia’s lifespan almost tripled Robin’s. She lived to be 106, and
outlasted not only her generation but much of the generation behind
her. Robin, however, died at 36, leaving a kind, loving wife and two
precious children. Virginia had a full career practicing medicine
and lived another four decades. Robin died just after earning a PhD,
while still in his first pastorate.
Virginia was my oldest friend. And Robin was my youngest friend
to die while we were both starting families and launching careers.
But they shared something vital. Robin, who left this life while far
too young, and Virginia, whose longevity challenged the imagina-
tion, both reveled in God’s steadfast love and placed their hope in it.
Virginia and Robin appreciated the complexities and paradoxes
of faith. They knew better than to place their trust in strength,
might, and even technology (vv. 16-17). They feared the Lord and
trusted in God’s steadfast love, but didn’t believe faith would stave
off famine and death (vv. 18-19). Throughout their lives, they asked
God to spare those who died, prayed for jobs that didn’t materialize,
pleaded for marriages that failed. They never kidded themselves into
believing bad things would not happen to God-loving people.
Yet they lived their lives—Robin’s achingly short; Virginia’s
almost staggeringly long—with glad hearts. Robin said he felt
grateful for a slow death because he had time to tell people how
much he loved them. Virginia said her long life made her appreciate
the love of God, friends, and family because, for years, she realized
each day could be her last.
Their generous and loving lives illustrated that life is measured
by more than our number of days and that death is a door to more.
How does your hope in God shape how you consider the future?
God, so much competes for our trust in you. Forgive us when we seek our deliverance elsewhere. Tune our hearts to place our hope in you. Amen.