Stark reminders of aging are unavoidable these days. I’m not certain it’s due so much to another year come and gone (the fifty fifth such event for me), as to nagging frustrations arising from increased physical limitation. Why can’t I bend over in the morning without doing warm up exercises to prepare for the warm up exercises? Why can’t I eat what I want whenever I want without then carrying it out in front for the world to see and causing Jenny Craig to recruit me for her next before and after? Why does morning arrive too soon but the night too late? Why these crevices in my face where smoothness once ruled the earth? And then, if things aren’t bad enough in mid-life, I read still another reminder in Scripture:
“Anyone can see that the brightest and best die, wiped out right along with the fools and dunces. They leave all their prowess behind, move into their new home, The Coffin, The cemetery their permanent address.And to think they named counties after themselves!
We aren’t immortal. We don’t last long.
Like our dogs, we age and weaken. And die.”
(Psalm 49:10-12, The Message)
Well, isn’t that special?! Thanks, Sons of Korah, for the pep talk! Talk about stating the obvious, but tossing tact to the wind. Honestly, it’s just the strain of straight talk I need to startle me out of spiritual lethargy and holy hardening of the arteries. Get the paddles out—jump start me Lord! Shock me into a meaningful life of submission and service. Whereas my first thought has been self-preservation, show me how to be spent for You and for the benefit of others. I’m not immortal. I repeat—I am not immortal! Invest what’s left of my life so that something remains of me that matters when I lie down and join my dog. Remake me into a perpetual mentor, a teacher from the grave. Whatever changes in me are necessary, accomplish them so that I will be a compass whose needle always points Godward: in private and public, the same; alone and in a crowd, no difference. A man of integrity and faith, of strength and grace; a “clutch man.”
No doubt I will continue to deteriorate, to weaken and eventually return to dust, but Lord, make old age an opportunity rather than a curse. Bring to life right now what will remain long after my bones disintegrate. Make me a memory that speaks fluently the greatness of our God.
“By faith Abel offered God a better sacrifice than Cain did. By faith he was commended as a righteous man, when God spoke well of his offerings. And by faith he still speaks, even though he is dead.” (Hebrews 11:4, NIV)