“Moses was 120 years old at his death. His eyes had not grown dim, and his strength had not departed.”
I had the opportunity to share this passage with an elderly woman in the ministry last week.
She is in her late 70s and has been undergoing cancer treatment for the last three years.
She still has two more years of treatment before she can go back to her “normal” life.
The medication she takes has very painful side effects.
She cannot usually sleep at night and her bones hurt constantly.
I’ve known her for a little over a year and every time I visit her, she complains about the pain and wishes she could just let herself die.
Our initial visits were all about why God allows pain and suffering, whether life is ruled by karma or random chance.
In later visits we focused on God’s kingdom, the hope that one day earth will be without any pain, suffering or even death.
As we talked last week about Moses’s end-of-life, we noted that Moses did not start his life’s major work until he was about 80 (Acts 7:20-36).
So, even in old age, we should not face life with an attitude of giving up, as if the best is already behind us.
In my friend’s case, she does not have the strength she had 15 or 30 years ago.
But she contributes so much to her family’s and neighbor’s quality of life just by being there, enduring, joking around with them.
Now she has finally learned God’s reasons for allowing pain and suffering, understanding that he is not the one to blame for our lamentable state.
Through that understanding she no longer feels angry at God, so whatever the future holds for her, she can be at peace, knowing he has her best interests in mind (Jer. 29:11).
Moses knew Jehovah “face-to-face,” and perhaps none of us will ever enjoy that privilege (De. 34:10).
But we can imitate the faithful attitude Moses demonstrated up until his last breath, even as he looked at the entirety of the promised land, conscious that he was not to enter it (De. 34:4,5).
‘For God is not unrighteous so as to forget our work and the love we show for his name,’ ‘therefore, do not give up, but even if the man we are outside is wasting away, certainly the man we are inside is being renewed from day to day,’ (Heb. 6:10; 2 Cor. 4:16).