OK, is it just me?
Or is anybody else out there sick and tired of a body that gets sick and tired??
(And achy, and creaky, and wrinkled, and saggy, and gray…)
I was reminded of my bodily dismay just a few days ago. "The Hub" and I were at a pharmacy picking up a prescription for an infection I have. (I rest my case on the aggravation issue…)
There were a few people in line ahead of us, and a few sitting on chairs. Not wanting to butt into line, we asked if any of the "sitters" were actually "waiters".
One gentleman told us that he was ahead of us, but his recent knee replacement made it difficult to stand for any length of time.
He was roughly our age, and we began a conversation about his motorcycle accident and torn ACL. It reminded me of the various aches and pains that we're experiencing. "The Hub's" shoulder surgery and broken ankle – my magical menopause mystery tour…
At some point, though I didn't say it out loud, I thought of that old adage: "Well, at least it's better than the alternative."
When I got home, I got to thinking.
I think maybe I've got it all wrong. Actually, this life ISN'T better than the alternative.
So, I want to explore three questions:
Why am I fighting aging so much?
Why do I think that aging means a diminishing state of existence?
How does God view aging?
First of all, why am I fighting aging so much?
I think there's several reasons. One is the youth-obsessed society that we live in. Our culture is myopically fixated on the body – how it works, how it looks, how it ages (or doesn't). I'm all for doing everything we can to take care of our bodies – in fact, I think that God directs us to do that. We are His temple, after all.
But this single-minded pursuit of youthfulness, and the intolerance toward any sign of aging – I don't think that comes from God.
So, at some level, I am influenced by my culture.
That's the bad news.
But the other reason that I think I fight aging is spiritual. I believe that God created us with eternity in our hearts (He does say that!) – and at some level, I think our spirits know that this mortal state is not what we were created for.
We were created for eternal life. We were created perfect.
Sin has messed that all up.
Some of my fight against aging is not good – but the part of me that rebels against Satan's weapons of sin, disease, and death – I believe that is understandable and commendable.
"Don't you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself…"
(1 Corinthians 6:19, NLT)
"He has planted eternity in the human heart…" (Ecclesiastes 3:11, NLT)
Second, why do I think that aging is a diminishing state of existence?
Again, I think culture plays a role in that.
The elderly are often abused, marginalized, discriminated against. In a youth-oriented culture, old people are often considered refuse, baggage – useless.
This wasn't always the case.
Not so long ago, the elderly were revered and honored. Their advice and counsel was sought out. Their wisdom was esteemed, and their knowledge and experience were admired.
I vividly remember my grandparents, and some of my great-grandparents. I thought they were the most wonderful people on the planet.
And older believers always bless me.
They have a sense of peace about them – a peace that I think comes from walking many steps with the Lord. I want to know what their faith is like – I want them to teach me. And some day, if God chooses to bless me with old age, I want to be like them.
The diminishing is really just a physical thing. As my body ages, my spirit has the opportunity to soar.
"So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day." (2 Corinthians 4:16, ESV)
"Put on your new nature, and be renewed as you learn to know your Creator and become like him." (Colossians 3:10, NLT)
Finally, how does God view aging?
Fortunately, He is a lot more gracious than we are!
I found these wonderful verses on a website:
"Gray hair is a crown of glory; it is gained by living a godly life."
(Proverbs 16:31, NLT)
"The glory of the young is their strength; the gray hair of experience is the splendor of the old." (Proverbs 20:29, NLT)
"I will be your God throughout your lifetime -- until your hair is white with age. I made you, and I will care for you. I will carry you along and save you." (Isaiah 46:4, NLT)
"Grandchildren are the crowning glory of the aged…" (Proverbs 17:6, NLT)
"Show your fear of God by standing up in the presence of elderly people and showing respect for the aged. I am the LORD." (Leviticus 19:32, NLT)
And this next one is my personal favorite. Especially in view of my post last week – when I was bemoaning some *shelf sitting* in my life…
"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." (Psalm 92:12-14, NLT)
God's values are a far cry from our own.
He does not look at the elderly as disposable. NO! In fact, the elderly are promised God's continuing concern. He does not look at the elderly as worthless and useless. NO! In fact, the elderly are important fruit-producers in the Body of Christ.
Vital and green. (I like the sound of that!)
YES! God loves every one of my (dyed) gray hairs. He loves my wrinkles and sags. And though He doesn't enjoy my aches and pains, and though He understands what it feels like to be sick and tired…
HE. DID. SOMETHING. ABOUT. IT.
He entered into our world. He became a human. And though He didn't grow into old age, He still felt the pain of aging – He suffered the horror of dying…
He understood the *disconnect* between eternity and earthly mortality.
And He did it so we could have LIFE!
Life now on earth until His work in and through us is done – and life everlasting in the glory of His presence.
From birth until forever, He is my God…
"He will take our weak mortal bodies and change them into glorious bodies like his own, using the same power with which he will bring everything under his control." (Philippians 3:21, NLT)
SIGN ME UP!
Are you aging gracefully? Why or why not?
BLOG = "Blessedly Leaning On God!"