Happy Birthday! Or is it? Do you feel discouraged and depressed with every passing year?
I’ve heard many older people say, “My body tells me I’m old, but my brain tells me I’m still eighteen.” Do you feel older and wiser, or older and angrier? When we age, we can live the lie, “I can’t!” rather than “I can!” and “I will!”
Aging is a fact of life. Bodies begin to break down. We all experience limitations. Positive faith and a willingness to bravely follow God gives you strength for the road ahead.
I am constantly amazed at the barrage of media lies promising we don’t have to get older. We can juice, exercise, lift our sagging flab with plastic surgery, but we can’t outrun the years!
God’s plan is to renew us.
Paul promises in 2 Corinthians 4:16-18:
“For this reason we never become discouraged. Even though our physical being is gradually decaying, yet our spiritual being is renewed, refreshed day after day. And this small and temporary trouble we suffer will bring us a tremendous and eternal glory.
For we fix our attention, not on things that are seen, but on things that are unseen. What can be seen lasts only for a time, but what cannot be seen lasts forever.”
My husband suffered terrible health setbacks. His doctors often warned, “You may not be able to ….” He was not easily discouraged, but challenged. Roger had open-heart surgery at thirteen, and a litany of illnesses ever since. No one believed he would preach multiple services for over thirty years, travel the world teaching and training pastors and raise millions of dollars for churches and missions.
Now he is retired. Or so he thought. He doesn’t have the physical strength he had even five years ago. At first, he was crestfallen on Sundays because he didn’t have the stamina to preach every week.
But God surprised him. He maximized my husband’s greatest gifts by allowing him to write for millions of readers and counsel people around the world online. A wise friend once encouraged him: “Roger, your greatest ministry will occur after you retire.” He was right!
God has a plan for every moment of your life. So how do you stay youthful in the Lord?
· Look forward. God is not finished with you. “Be confident of this: He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Jesus Christ.” Philippians 1:6 ASV
· Worship often. Praise lifts your spirits and strengthens your heart.
· Remember God’s blessings in your life. (My husband has uploaded 20,000 photos that rotate in a frame. We walk by them every day and are reminded of the people and experiences that have brought us joy).
· Recognize that you will suffer physical limitations, but they don’t have to define you. Instead, use your own losses to empathize and comfort others.
· Increase your prayer life. Social media connects us in new and deeper ways. Pray for those who express their needs to you. Pray globally.
· Volunteer your time for ministry. Be creative. God will show you how.
· Deepen relationships with your family and friends. Don’t waste those moments. You don’t get them back.
You still can be young on the inside. You still can enjoy life. You can choose to grow in your faith.
Look forward. Jesus is there. Look toward heaven. Jesus is there, too.