I celebrated a birthday last month. It wasn’t one of the key birthdays in life (40, 50, 60, etc.), but it did make me stop and think about where I’ve been with my life and where I want the future to take me and my loved ones.
As I was contemplating all of this, the words of an old Beatles song popped into my head:
“When I get older, losing my hair
Many years from now
Will you still be sending me a valentine
Birthday greetings, bottle of wine?
. . .
Will you still need me, will you still feed me
When I’m sixty-four?”
(Songwriters: Paul McCartney & John Lennon)
© Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC
It does make you stop and think.
Many people are afraid of growing old. Most people are afraid of growing old alone.
Many people are afraid of dying. Most people are afraid of dying alone.
It’s a scary thought, and one that we rarely want to think about, much less confront.
More than twenty-seven hundred years ago, God knew that the children of Jacob who were living in Jerusalem and the land of Judah would be afraid. Very afraid. Their brothers and sisters in the north had already been conquered and scattered by the Assyrians, and they themselves would one day be conquered and dispersed by the Babylonians.
God warned them, all of them, but the people would not listen – and events played out exactly as the prophets foretold.
However, with the warnings also came promises. Promises that God would not abandon His people. Promises that He would carry them, sustain them, and one day rescue them.
One such promise is found in the Book of the Prophet Isaiah, who spoke these words from God:
Listen to me, you descendants of Jacob,
all the remnant of the people of Israel,
you whom I have upheld since your birth,
and have carried since you were born.
Even to your old age and gray hairs
I am he, I am he who will sustain you.
I have made you and I will carry you;
I will sustain you and I will rescue you.
(Isaiah 46:3–4, NIV)
As you and your loved ones grow older and face the many challenges that aging brings, God’s words will have special meaning for you.
God will carry you. When you feel overwhelmed and don’t think you can go on, the Lord will carry you. He will pick you up in His loving arms and help you through each day. Day by day. Month by month. Year by year.
God will sustain you. At all times, but especially in the most difficult of times, the Lord will sustain you. He will provide for you physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. He will support you and nurture you. Whatever you need, and whenever you need it, God will be there with you and for you.
God will rescue you. When you confront a terminal illness or your body just stops working, the Lord will reach out with His strong hand to take yours. Perhaps He will grant you a miracle, but at some point in time, death will be inevitable. When all seems lost (to those without faith), God will rescue you from this fallen world and transport you to a place where “there will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain” (Revelation 21:4, NIV).
Despite living in a fallen world, you are never alone. No matter the age of your body or the condition of your mind, God is with you always (Deuteronomy 31:6) – even to the end of time (Matthew 28:20).
-- Dr. John Morris