Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, and spend a year there and engage in business and make a profit.” Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away.…(James 4:13-14)
Recently, I was listening to an oldies radio station, when the Beatles’ song, When I’m 64, played. I suddenly realized that in a little less than four weeks, I, too, will turn 64. When I was younger, little did I know what my life would be like when I finally reached that age. So many of the things that I had planned for my life when I was in my teens simply never materialized. Other areas opened up that I could have never imagined. Part of that was because I didn’t come to know the Lord until I was 19.
That was a true culture shock. I’m the kind of person who want’s everything to be logical, to make sense, and to follow a well-defined plan. We can make our plans, but the LORD determines our steps. (Psalm 16:9) When I got saved, I was one of two non-Catholics attending the College of the Holy Cross–very definitely a Catholic school. Based on how God was leading, I dropped my pre-law major and switched to Sociology and Education. I spent the next 40+ years as an educator and a coach–a far cry from being a lawyer. I even took on the role of a youth pastor for 20 years. Who could have imagined….
So what? I guess my age has made me more reflective–and thankful for where God has taken me. “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future”. (Jeremiah 29:11) Despite physical setbacks over the years, and failures to be all I could have been, God has been gracious and generous. I’m now retired from teaching, but God never expects us to retire from following Him. He is still finding unique things for me to do that sometimes fit my personality and sometimes stretch it. The important thing is that I can still be useful to Him–regardless of my age or health. I just have to be willing.
Old-time comedian, George Burns, once said, you can’t help getting older, but you don’t have to get old! I will continue to get older, but I pray that I never grow old.
Even to your old age and gray hairs I am He, I am He who will sustain you. I have made you and will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you. (Isaiah 46:4) I can live with that–even at 64.