There are, of course, both benefits and liabilities to aging. Let me share with you some of each.
The most interesting part of aging is context – increased context. If we have lived in a more-or-less responsible way as Christians – growing in knowledge of God’s word, life, history – we know so much more at sixty than we did at thirty or forty. Our sheer volume of information is so much greater with increased time. Add to this life experience, and there is absolutely no comparison between the wisdom of older and younger people.
I can see why the fifth commandment is an “interim” one- straddling honoring God and making wise and God-honoring life decisions. The hoar-haired stand in the middle, transmitting their gleaned knowledge to the next generation…Such a joy and fulfilment to us and such a blessing to those with fewer years under their belt. …Do you know the Agatha Christie character, Miss Marple? The old woman who is always figuring out “who dunnit” on the basis of, “I remember” and “That reminds me of….” We are the Miss Marples of the Christian world. We have read about it, seen it, sometimes – unfortunately – done it.
We are still standing. Still persevering through the battleground of life, in faith and faithfulness. Pray for us as we pray for you because, as with blessings, there are temptations peculiar to older folks.
The first is simply battle-fatigue. No human general would ask the sixty, seventy and eighty-year olds to continue to fight. God does. And we know that is holy and right. But we are tired and our temptation can be to feel we have done our bit in life, in the church…(How many older women do you see working in the nursery?) Pray that we will be active and engaged soldiers through to the very end, as strength and health allow. Who wants to drag their way into the Lord’s presence?
And pray for yourselves that, while young, you will not allow bitterness to grow in your soul. If there are lingering bitternesses, they seem to be harder to deal with, with age. And who wants to be that old person that seemed peaceful while young, but with age becomes more obviously not so? The hidden parts of your inner being definitely desire to express themselves more as you grow older. You become more what you always were in those inner recesses of your being. Accept this as a warning!
So, guard your hearts; practise righteousness; grow in wisdom and knowledge; and old age will be – in many ways – a delight, a uniquely rich time of life.
Many thanks, and much praise, to the One who bears us on eagles’ wings right to the end!