Hope in Aging

Revisiting Aging

Maybe it’s because middle age is bearing down. Maybe it’s because my youngest is now a senior in high school. Perhaps the struggles of my aging parents are the reason. Or, maybe it’s simply the increase in body aches and inflexible muscles. Could also be my going back to school and wondering if it’s crazy to do so at my age. Probably, it’s all of these combined.

Whatever the reason on any given day, aging and the fleetingness of time has become more of a focus for me. I can easily get overwhelmed and even depressed about it. To prevent that, and further, to embrace what lies before me in the second half of my life, I turn to what the Bible says about aging and time and purpose.

It’s a topic I revisit more frequently with every passing year. Fortunately, the Bible offers much in the way of wisdom about aging. In my revisiting, then, I find tremendous peace.

Startling Aging Facts

Statistics tell me that a lot of people struggle with aging:

  • The highest suicide rate is among adults ages 45-54.
  • The second highest is adults over 85.
  • Younger groups have consistently lower rates.

Even worse, they show that many give up on that struggle. They simply lose hope.

The Bible and Aging

Fortunately, the Bible offers a lot of hope for those at any stage in this struggle.

“Gray hair is a crown of splendor; it is attained in the way of righteousness.” (Proverbs 16:31)

“Is not wisdom found among the aged? Does not long life bring understanding?” (Job 12:12)

“Praise the Lord, my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name. Praise the Lord, my soul, and forget not all his benefits — who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion, who satisfies your desire with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.” (Psalm 103:5)

“Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.” (2 Corinthians 4:16)

These verses remind me that, as a Christian, there is honor and blessing in growing old. They tell me that while my body may be weakening, I am growing in wisdom and my spirit is being renewed every day.

God, through his word, focuses me on hope. He focuses me on Him.

“But the godly will flourish like palm trees and grow strong like the cedars of Lebanon. For they are transplanted into the Lord’s own house. They flourish in the courts of our God. Even in old age they will still produce fruit; they will remain vital and green. They will declare, ‘The Lord is just! He is my rock! There is nothing but goodness in him.’” (Psalm 92:12-15)

Looking Ahead

There are circumstances beyond our control that contribute to decline as we age. Physical decline and possibly even mental decline will happen. Spiritual decline doesn’t have to happen though.

Doing what I can to age gracefully in the temporary dwelling of my human body, I grasp what God’s word says about how he wants me to flourish in old age. I hold on to the fact that my spirit will live on into eternity and never grow old.

How to… Grow

When I compare my mental, physical, spiritual & social health 2 ½ years ago to today, I see complete contrast. This changed happened through many small changes, all of which would be impossible to remember let alone list.

The following 10 small changes illustrate the principle of incremental growth as it took place in my own life. I offer them now by way of testimony of my struggle to victory in my life.

  1. Found the root cause of my poor health.
  2. Learned as much as I could about my health conditions.
  3. Eliminated bad & increased good nutrition.
  4. Asked for help. Lots of help.
  5. Took naps. Got the rest needed to heal & grow strong.
  6. Said “no” more in order to be able to say “yes” better.
  7. Rediscovered exercise. Quit timing, measuring & comparing.
  8. Made reading a daily requirement.
  9. Retired. (That’s what my husband calls it… I call it quitting my job.)
  10. Spent time daily in prayer & reading my Bible.
  11. Took my thoughts captive.
  12. Started a blog to tame those captive thoughts.

These small changes may or may not trigger ideas for changes needed in your life, but hopefully they do indicate over-arching areas needing attention for anyone’s growth to endure.

Courtesy of stock.xchng

Luke 2:25 indicates that Jesus grew physically, intellectually, spiritually and socially. Applying that to my own life comes throu

gh realizing that all the small steps I take are leading me down a path of growth that follows Jesus’ example.The cedars of Lebanon grew to 120 feet tall and 30 feet in circumference. They were solid, strong and immovable, and the writer of Psalm 92 saw believers who placed their faith in God as upright, strong and unmoved much like these cedars. And strong believers know that following God is not a one-time event but an ongoing, moment-by-moment experience.Just as a cedar of Lebanon didn’t pop up overnight like a dandelion, victory in our lives doesn’t spring forth without being first built through small changes made over time. Come to think of it, that’s how God builds an enduring faith too.

DISCUSSION: How are you growing physically, intellectually, spiritually & socially?

Related Reading: I have covered this topic of small steps leading to big change extensive at New Hope Ladies, a blog especially for the ladies of my church family. The post Focus on Small Changes and the study Small Changes: Little Things Make a Big Difference both focus on helping others understand how God works in the small areas of our lives in wonderful ways.

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