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.

As Far as the East is from the West

Recently while sitting on my deck early one morning, I was blessed to look up and see a full rainbow. After spending time thanking God for His promises and His faithfulness, I moved to my front porch because it started to rain. (The porch is covered; the deck is not.)

The view from my front porch was the sun rising over the clouds on the horizon. God’s magnificence shone brightly, and I was in awe of His majestic glory.

Within 30 minutes time, God took me from thankfulness of His promises and faithfulness to awe over his glory and majesty. God reminded me once again of His goodness and mercy in my life, and I found myself in a place of wonder all over again at His sacrifice of Jesus for me.

As His presence that morning moved from looking to a rainbow in the western sky to the sunrise in the eastern sky, I was reminded of Psalm 103:12 where it says God has removed my sins from me as far as the east is from the west.

Wow! That means, once we’re forgiven, we can’t reach our sins. We may still live in their consequences or allow our guilt to fog our vision, but that’s us remembering them. God chooses to forget!

Can’t quite grasp that concept? Me either. That’s why we need faith. He’s God. We’re not. His ways are not our ways. We remember our sins and the sins of others even after they’re forgiven. He doesn’t.

Take a minute to read Psalm 103 in its entirety. Like David, we can live in deliberate thankfulness for the ways of God, knowing that He is compassionate, loving, kind, righteous and strong. We can be thankful that He rules over all even if we don’t even come close to understanding Him.

DISCUSSION: How does nature remind you of the presence and goodness of God?

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