Old Age; August 27, 2019

Psalm 92:12-15 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.”

I must say this is an encouraging Scripture for someone who will be 71 next month! As comes out with Moses, Caleb, and various others throughout the Bible, the issue isn’t age, it’s whether we are walking with the Lord. Billy Graham was certainly a good example of that. To get the right image, we need to realize that when the Bible talks about palm trees, it is talking about date palms, that grow to dizzying heights in some very inhospitable places. In English we most often think of coconut palms, which sometimes grow pretty tall, but are more commonly much shorter. Likewise, we have very little mental framework for a “cedar of Lebanon,” because the great stands of timber that used to cover that part of the world were cut down for lumber, greatly contributing to the desertification of the whole region. There is an island, Yakushima, between the Japanese islands of Kyushu and Okinawa, than has cedars that would be comparable, and they are indeed awesome. (They have been protected by their remote location, and are currently under the protection of strict laws.) Not only are they huge, they are hundreds of years old. The point is, the Psalmist is painting a word picture of stability and fruitfulness that should gladden the heart of anyone past 50! However, we have to pay attention to the category, the righteous, and then the activity, proclaiming the goodness of the Lord. If we want to stay fresh and green and fruitful in old age, we need to operate in the righteousness that God has provided for us in Christ, and give Him all the glory.

As I have already mentioned, I have qualified for a “senior discount” for several years now. Until I came up with the hernia for which I will be checked today, I was absurdly healthy. The problem is, I somewhat took it for granted, which makes my current issue more of a shock. My wife was the one with all the medical issues! I have tried to be a good steward of this body, staying at a reasonable weight and walking 5 km three times a week, but otherwise have simply expected to be healthy. When the bulges appeared, I just thought that was a strange place for fat to collect, and so put off getting checked out for far longer than advisable. It’s still far from a life-threatening issue, but it’s a strong reminder that I’m far from as young as I used to be, and that my body is on loan to me until God decides to reclaim it. My focus needs to be on the two things mentioned here: being right with God and proclaiming Him to all who will listen.

Father, thank You for this reminder. My level of being uptight about today’s hospital visit is an indication that I have no room for pride when it comes to faith, either! On most levels I have great assurance that You have planned and will work out everything for blessing, but I still have a level of anxiety that disturbed my sleep last night. Help me indeed rest, relax, and rejoice in You, whatever goes on today or hereafter, 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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