OK, so here's the deal: You're 47 years old and are doing well financially. You know a 90-year-old woman with no heirs who lives alone in a rather nice apartment. You figure she's not going to be around much longer, so you offer to pay her a monthly sum as long as she lives, provided you get her unit when she dies. Would you make the deal?
This very agreement was made in France in 1965. The 47-year-old man was a public notary, so he wrote everything up, sat back, and waited.
And waited. And waited.
In fact, he waited until December, 1995. That's when he left this life, leaving his widow to continue the payments. The woman, in the meantime, was still going strong. Her name was Jeanne Calment, who is now in the record books as the person with the highest age ever authenticated. She celebrated her 122nd birthday on February 21, 1997, and died the following August. By the time of the notary's death, she had received 900,000 francs for her house - more than double its actual value. On her 120th birthday, she joked, "We all make bad deals in life."
It has been said that life's greatest certainty is its many uncertainties - and hasn't 2020 proved that to be true!
The Bible offers us helpful perspective on this:
Just a moment, now, you who say, "We are going to such-and-such a city today or tomorrow. We shall stay there a year doing business and make a profit"! How do you know what will happen even tomorrow?... Your remarks should be prefaced with, "If it is the Lord's will, ….we will do so-and-so." (James 4:13-15). We can plan and strategize as much as we like, but there's no guarantee our plans will come to fruition.
Thankfully, God's gracious plans for you and me are much more certain: For I know the plans I have for you," says the Lord. "They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope" (Jeremiah 29:11). And, as St Peter once wrote, God's plans for our future bring us a living hope through Jesus' resurrection from death (1 Peter 1:3).