The Wisdom of Age; August 2, 2019

Psalm 37:25-26 I was young and now I am old,
yet I have never seen the righteous forsaken
or their children begging bread.
They are always generous and lend freely;
their children will be blessed.

I like this evidence that in his senior years, David spent time writing Psalms. This is another acrostic Psalm, starting each stanza with a succeeding letter of the Hebrew alphabet, so it wasn’t an impulsive thing that he tossed off in a minute or two, but rather something he thought about and worked on over time. (Those who don’t write poetry often don’t understand that whereas sometimes poems flow quickly, longer ones, and especially those fitting a specific pattern, require more effort, going back and tweaking them.) The point is, after all he had been through, David wanted to take time to acknowledge the Lord. Studies have shown that age indeed brings wisdom (if that wisdom isn’t specifically rejected, as I have sometimes seen it to be). It isn’t that older people are smarter, it’s that they have more experience on which to base their decisions. Even when there is considerable memory loss, past experiences still impact present decisions, even when the person in question can’t remember those experiences. An older person who often reads the Bible isn’t “studying for their final exam,” as their grandchildren sometimes think, but rather acting on their lifetime of experience that God is faithful, and blesses those who draw near to Him. Ministry to seniors often isn’t easy, for a number of reasons, but if you’re paying attention, you can benefit from the wisdom that is there. After all, one of the Biblical titles for God is “the Ancient of Days!” (Daniel 7:9)

It’s interesting reading this and writing on it when I’ve passed 70 myself. People, even doctors, often say I’m younger than my calendar age, but I don’t want to miss out on what I’ve just written about. I’ve been through a lot, in one way and another, and I’ve certainly learned that God is faithful. I’ve had people admire my faith, when it’s just the outgrowth of seeing God come through, again and again and again. I’ve seen circumstances that seemed literally hopeless be turned around for great blessing. How can I not be optimistic? I have long loved and quoted Jesus’ famous statement just before He was scourged and crucified: “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33) To me, “taking heart” means looking forward to whatever good God is going to bring out of whatever is going on, no matter how horrible it might seem. (Romans 8:28) In all humility, I think that’s wise.

Father, thank You for Your incredible faithfulness. Thank You for the awareness that no human being is more than an infant before You. Help me receive all that You teach me, not to let it puff me up but rather so that I may be useful to You in blessing others, for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!

About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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