Many of you readers out there, from what I can gather, are young or youngish, so you may not be able to relate to this little post. But, depending on your outlook, I am pretty youngish myself, even though I am a grandmother of thirteen.
Doug and I stayed at a bed and breakfast in Maryland that some of his family’s long-time friends own and run. These long-time friends are in their eighties, and they maintain their home, guest rooms, and lovely grounds largely by themselves, as well as preparing delightful breakfasts for their guests at some pretty outlandish hours in the morning. We were struck by their kindness, their hard work, and their cheerfulness, the way they take everything in stride with competence and ease of spirit. They have served the Lord for many years together, and they know how to stay in step.
The biblical outlook on age and aging is antithetical to our culture’s infatuation with youthfulness and immaturity. The Bible describes the gray head as a crown of glory, and living to see your descendents’ descendents as a great blessing from God. The older we get, the more we should attain to wisdom, and this is our glory. The world, on the other hand, is seeking the fountain of youth, not interested in a godly wisdom. But it’s not enough to nod our heads at this while we really have more in common with the world’s take on aging. We Christians must truly believe what God says about this.
What made me think of this? We celebrated the birthdays of a couple of my “old” friends today who turned 59 and 57. They are just beginning to hit their stride. Some Puritan or preacher (I can’t remember who) said something like, “I am just beginning to begin to be a Christian.” So much more ahead to learn. So many more opportunities to grow in faith and to become more like Christ. And so many mercies and blessings to look back on, which gives us more confidence, more faith to trust God for our future.
John Piper in his book Future Grace says we live between the two lines of the hymn “Amazing Grace”: twas grace that brought me safe thus far, and grace will lead me home.
Years ago we had a couple of ancient apple trees in our yard, and I remember being struck by the immense amount of fruit those old things bore each year. What a great picture it was to me of what old age should be like: not barren, but weighed down graciously with fruitfulness. Some of our friends and relatives are weighed down by physical limitations, but that does not prohibit their spiritual fruitfulness. And those of us who are younger should take fresh courage from the great example of those faithful saints ahead of us. If they can carry such large loads of fruit, surely we can press on to do the same.