In this day and age, there seems to always be some new disease or mutation of an old one that the world has to worry about. Given enough time (and money), man always seems to come up with a cure or at least something to deal with the symptoms. Yet with all the horrific stories of weaponized diseases and medicine resistant viruses that we hear about in sensationalized news items, the most common disease remains old age. And old age is contagious–with a 100% case fatality rate. We’re all going to get it and we are all going to die.
Now I know this start sounds rather morbid, but let’s face the facts. In your life-time how many elderly people do you know who haven’t died? Sometimes they even die before they manage to become old. But old age starts the minute we are born. Every second, minute, day, and year moves us closer to our physical demise.
But, while old age is contagious, it doesn’t have to be something to panic about. Make no mistake about it, old age isn’t for sissies. It can bring a whole multitude of symptoms from arthritis to dementia. The elderly become more susceptible to heart problems, diabetes, and cancer. Yet God says, I will be your God throughout your lifetime–until your hair is white with age. I made you, and I will care for you. I will carry you along and save you. (Isaiah 46:4) No matter what your age or physical condition is, Praise the Lord; praise God our savior! For each day he carries us in his arm. (Psalm 68:19) This is true whether you’re nine or ninety.
So why do so many of us start to act old when we reach a certain age? And for some it starts well before “old” age actually arrives. Difficult finances, unhappy relationships, jobs that make us cringe every time we show up for work, loss of a loved one….These are all external factors. Yet, children brought up within these same situations seem to maintain their childlike wonder and equilibrium. Maybe that’s why Jesus said, Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 18:3) And He said it to adults. Even George Bernard Shaw wrote, We don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing. He had it right even though his beliefs ranged from atheism, to social amelioration, to vegetarianism and everything in between.
But the best thing about growing old in the Lord is that the retirement plan is out of this world! Literally! You don’t have to have worked for thirty years to qualify for this retirement plan. And you don’t have to have a college degree, two years of experience and a willingness to move to get the “job.” All you have to do recognize that you’re not perfect and that Jesus paid the price for those imperfections. Accept Him and spend the rest of your life following Him and becoming more like Him. And you will end up in mansion created especially for you, where the streets are paved with transparent gold and there never is any darkness, or suffering or pain.
An elderly friend of mine recently passed away. But before he did, he observed that everyone wants to get to Heaven, but no one wants to die. Since Adam and Eve, death has been an unavoidable end to our life in this physical world. But God has given all who accept it a blessed hope. So, while we look forward with hope to that wonderful day when the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, will be revealed. (Titus 2:13) For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known. (I Corinthians 13:12)
And it won’t matter how old you are.