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Posts Tagged ‘old age’

Jo 23

In the recent Christmas heat, I watched some of the shrubs and plants near our unit struggle to stay alive. Even some of the hardiest ones in pots on our balcony suffered, as the hot sun scorched the leaves and shrivelled the flowers. The native trees nearby survived the best—those gum trees and grevilleas and callistemon have had to learn to be tough in our dry terrain. And it was in the midst of observing all this that I read the following:

The righteous will flourish like a palm tree, they will grow like a cedar of Lebanon; planted in the house of the Lord, they will flourish in the courts of our God.

They will still bear fruit in old age, they will stay fresh and green, proclaiming, “The Lord is upright; he is my Rock, and there is no wickedness in him.” Psalm 92:13-15

Have you ever noticed how some folk in their sixties look and act old before their time, while others in their nineties still seem quite young and are happily engaged in life in all sorts of ways? Of course, ill health and other difficulties can make life hard for some. Yet even apart from that, some seem to shrivel up before their time, like my pot plants, and resort to sitting on the sidelines rather than fully participating, while others much older continue to lay hold of life with both hands.

Recently, I discovered that one gentleman who is a member of our Village choir is actually ninety-nine years old! I would never have guessed it. He is interesting to speak to, alert and observant, obviously highly intelligent and also a gifted artist. Someone else told me that when he didn’t turn up to choir last year for a while, they discovered he had gone to Poland for his great-grandson’s wedding!

Now while some might consider me so old already—including our youngest grandchildren—I am actually thirty years younger than this lovely gentleman! So I have been asking myself what God might have in store for me, should I too have another thirty years ahead of me. After all, I did not waste the first thirty years of my life or the second thirty—so why waste the third thirty or beyond? In my old age, which I’m sure I haven’t quite reached yet, I feel there is still so much for me to do. I have ideas for books I would still like to write. I have many more ideas for my blogs. I would love to continue speaking for a while yet. I enjoy mentoring several wonderful women leaders. Everywhere I look, I see other opportunities for ministry. And of course, beyond all that, I want to see our grandchildren grow and flourish and still be invested in their lives for many years to come.

So in 2018, and for as long as God enables, I hope and pray I can be more like the native trees and shrubs I can see from my balcony and not those sad, wilted pot plants. As I keep my feet firmly on that Rock who is the Lord, I hope I can continue to flourish, bearing good fruit and staying fresh and green, for a long time to come yet.

How about you?

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This world is full of such brave, amazing people. This week, I was inspired all over again to keep going as I listened to several—all women and all much older than even I am (!)—share what they have been doing and plan to do. These are no light things either. And soon my own complaints dwindle to nothing.

At the age of around seventy, would you be prepared to undertake yet another of many trips to Bangladesh, involving a punishing schedule of eighteen to twenty hour days, many miles of travel to encourage rural church planters, plus all sorts of speaking engagements? That is exactly what a gracious, female friend of mine will soon be doing. As well, she has been a large part of raising funds to set up and staff sixteen Christian schools and an orphanage there. Here she is, this beautifully groomed and dressed grandmother who could be taking it easy in retirement, instead giving her all to build God’s kingdom in Bangladesh.

I listen too as another friend, now in her mid-seventies, shares about her recent trip to India to witness the opening of a six-storey building that houses a Christian school for around six hundred children and to support the Christian teachers there. My friend has laboured long and hard with this project and has watched this school grow to where it is today. She too could sit back and enjoy retirement, but no—she keeps on. Soon she will release yet another book, encouraging women to share their stories, because she is passionate about women coming to know the love and grace of God and being fed from the Word of God.

I watch as another even older friend chats with two younger women present and arranges to meet with them to encourage them in their ministry roles. Yes, she will drive some distance across Sydney to see them, I hear her say—and their gratitude is evident. Then she tells us all, with great joy, how she recently preached again in her church and how fulfilling this experience was. I know too that in the past, this dear lady has led men and women to the Lord who now hold prominent positions at all sorts of levels in our society. Yet there she is, speaking so humbly and with such godliness, wit and wisdom.

I come home and hear about another dear friend who, in her early seventies, is sacrificing her own personal space to take into her home family members who have nowhere else to go at this point and supporting them financially in the process, even when she herself has little to spare. I am in awe of her, as I realise this would indeed be something I would personally find very difficult.

I look ahead at my own busy speaking and writing schedule over the next few weeks and realise the cost involved for me is nothing, compared with that of my friends. I honour them. I am inspired by them. But, most importantly, I believe God honours them too and watches over them with a fierce and jealous love.

Even to your old age and grey 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 46:4

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