Do you ever find yourself doing exactly what you always promised yourself you’d never do? The classic example, of course, is suddenly hearing your mother’s words (the exact words you vowed you’d never utter) come flying out of your mouth. Yeah, it horrifies you when it happens, and you mentality kick yourself for days afterwards. What got into you? How humiliating!
I’d decided in my mid-thirties, that I’d age gracefully. I cut my hair to an age-appropriate length soon after turning 40, and traded in my lacy ruffled blouses for more tailored clothing. I even combated my feelings of jealousy when younger women started doing the types of ministry that had once belonged to me, realizing that I’d had my turn.
For quite a while, I was actually doing pretty well at transitioning from middle age to being a <gulp> senior citizen. Actually, I was quite delighted to use senior discounts — until John pointed out that the savings don’t really amount to much. Oh well!
Now that I’m a little more than a month away from turning 65 (there! I said it!), I don’t feel nearly as accepting of my fate. In my heart, I’m kicking and screaming like a spoiled two-year-old being dragged to the pediatrician for a shot. I don’t mind getting attention on my birthday, mind you, but I definitely object to the aches and pains, the fading beauty and the loss of stamina.
The day trips to Boston are drawing to a close. Except for doctors’ appointments.
And I’m unhappy about that.
Yet, even as I engage in my childish whining and pouting, the Holy Spirit draws my attention to Scriptures that expose my earthly perspective. The struggles and limitations of old age should loosen my grip on this life, filling me with joyful anticipation of eternity with Jesus!
16 So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. 17 For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, 18 as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal. ~~2 Corinthians 4:16-18 (ESV)
The Lord has indeed brought fresh excitement into my relationship with Him in the past few years, even to the point that I sometimes wonder if I’d been a false convert all those years. Of course, the point at which I truly experienced regeneration is up to Him to determine, and not really important to the subject at hand. I want you to instead see that the Lord has blessed me with an increasing sense of wonder at Who He is and what He’s done.
Finally studying the doctrines of the Bible (particularly the doctrine of resurrection) has refreshed me, helping me look forward to something exceedingly more splendid than the thrills of Boston or the joys of youth. And I wonder if the various results of aging that seem so negative might be curious indications of God’s grace.
Maybe aging divorces me from temporal interests so that I’ll focus on the eternal blessings that await me. Perhaps if I’d set my mind on those blessings, I’d do a better job at growing old gracefully.