Think with me about life span. How long might a thing exist on earth? Begin with me by considering the nonliving snow crystal. In a typical snow fall one crystal takes nearly an hour from its formation until it touches the earth. How much longer it lasts after that point is dependent on the location where it fell to earth and the length of the winter in that location. In early and late snowfalls, the crystal may melt if the earth it touches is above the freezing mark. Life span of a snow crystal? From about an hour to a winter’s season. We will except those crystals that fall in the Arctic and Antarctica as outliers. Make a leap with me to a living creature, the gray squirrel. The one in the photo is has “invited” itself to my feeder. It is ok. The average life span of a Gray Squirrel could be up to 6 years in the wild. With no predators, in captivity the age jumps to 20. But a life in captivity is not what this rodent was made for. Squirrels have significant function in healthy forests. They are experts at creating food caches of nuts in the earth. The purpose of the squirrel is self-preservation when food is scarce. But, not all seeds are found. Many of the seeds are carried far away from the parent tree. This allows the tree species to spread within the forest. These, expertly planted by the squirrel, germinate to become the seedlings of the forest. Squirrels also lunch on mushrooms. Squirrels spread mushrooms through their scat. Squirrel droppings contain the mushroom spores which are distributed as the squirrel travels about the forest. Since mushrooms are beneficial to trees by providing them with minerals and water a close and valuable relationship exists in this threesome of squirrels, trees and mushrooms. The big scientific word is symbiosis. One squirrel can plant many trees in six years.
Just one more life span: yours/mine. What is the average human life span? According to the US Social Security system American women can expect to live until age 86 while men can expect to reach 84. Both must first reach the plateau of 65 years. (end notes) The squirrel becomes fertilizer for the seedlings it planted before its death. However, humans have hope for more than simply soil enrichment. Consider these words. Long ago, God spoke to the prophet Jeremiah these words of encouragement, “…For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (end notes) God directed King Solomon to record these words, “Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end.” Think about the words hope, future and eternity. Here are the definitions of these three words in the context of their use: A feeling of expectation, going to happen and endless life after death. Think of these three words as you read these concluding words: Do not dwell on the thought that life is ebbing and that only a few remnants remain. Rely on God, the best is yet to come. (end notes) God offers all of us hope, and a future in eternity. He will listen to you as you question Him about it. It never hurts to ask.
Jeremiah 29:11 & Ecclesiastes 3:11(New Living Translation)
Wisloff, Fredrik, Rest Awhile. 1963.
Fredrick Wisloff, Rest Awhile. 1963.