Growing Old Gracefully
Psalms 92:12: The righteous shall flourish like the palm tree: he shall grow like a cedar in Lebanon. 13 Those that be planted in the house of the LORD shall flourish in the courts of our God. 14 They shall still bring forth fruit in old age; they shall be fat and flourishing;
Isaiah 46:3: Hearken unto me, O house of Jacob, and all the remnant of the house of Israel, which are borne by me from the belly, which are carried from the womb: 4 And even to your old age I am he; and even to hoar hairs will I carry you: I have made, and I will bear; even I will carry, and will deliver you.
Psalms 71:18: Now also when I am old and grayheaded, O God, forsake me not; until I have shewed thy strength unto this generation, and thy power to every one that is to come.
Psalms 48:14: For this God is our God for ever and ever: he will be our guide even unto death.
Psalms 37:25: I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread.
In ministering to the elderly one cannot help but be aware that they are unable to do things that they could do when they were younger. For instance, they cannot serve the Lord in the same ways they did when they were younger. I often try to suggest to them ways that they can still serve Him. There is something that I believe happens to some of them. I believe that some who were unwilling to serve the Lord when they were younger become unable to serve Him now. If they used their health, energy and wealth to serve themselves, their health, energy and wealth was wasted on them. If they used those resources to serve themselves, the only way they can stop serving themselves is to lose those things. Those who were unwilling to read, study and understand the Bible become unable to.
Delightfully, I also encounter many elderly with disabilities who still have joy. I believe it is because they used many of the resources God gave them wisely and unselfishly. They are able to love others today and I believe that is because they have been loving others for a long time. I believe that they have not wasted the Bible, the health, the energy and the resources God gave them. When I meet their grown children they are often a delight too. Sometimes when I meet the grown children of an elderly person I come to believe that they did not serve the Lord very well, that they had not set a good example. A pastor of mine once said that the women he knew that had been faithful to the Lord for many years were lovelier than other older women. I often heard him speak admiringly of his mother. I had met her and believe he was speaking of her. I believe that older men who have served the Lord for a long time are the most attractive too. If I must become infirm when I get older, I want to be like them.
I have questions for me and for you. How faithful to the Lord have we been? How much of what God has given us have we wasted? If we are honest, we will acknowledge that we have wasted far more of what He has given us than we have used wisely. Will our faithfulness to the Lord or lack of it be obvious when we become elderly? Will we have regrets or blessed memories? Will we be like our Heavenly Father?