How ironic life can be! When we are young, we can’t wait to grow up and enjoy what we perceive to be the privileges of adulthood. When we grow older, we look back with longing nostalgia to the days of our youth. It is my impression, however, that God intends for us to joyfully embrace each of the seasons of our life. We can do this when we live with the assurance that God offers what we need so that we can realize our fullest potential, no matter what our age might be. If this is to happen in our lives, however, it requires our commitment to faith, as well as our acceptance of what God allows of struggle and what He provides of strength.
Like all of us, I too have often wondered why God allows us to get old and weak. In struggling with this issue, I have concluded that the wise author of Ecclesiastes was right when he wrote, “Everything that happens in this world happens at the time God chooses.” (3:1). It is a part of the divine plan that the strength and beauty of youth is primarily physical, while the strength and beauty of advancing years is mostly spiritual. As life advances, God has ordained that we lose the strength and beauty that is physical and temporary, so that we can acquire the strength and beauty that is spiritual and eternal. As the years advance, we find that they confer their gifts of maturity, wisdom, and perspective. At the same time, our physical nature declines, making us less eager to go on at all cost, and preparing us to enter our eternal home. That is exactly why older people are so much at peace, and find it so easy to let go, when their time arrives. If we were forever young, strong, and beautiful, we might never want to leave.
Are you in the spring time of your life? Trust that God will offer you every opportunity to realize your dreams. Are you in life’s summer or autumn? Face your many challenges in the assurance of God’s sustaining graces. And if you are in the winter of your life, cultivate your relationship with God, so that together with the psalmist you too will be able to say, “I have relied on you all my life; you have protected me since the day I was born. I will always praise you.” (71:6).