I am forty-four years old. 44! When I was in college I thought 40-somethings were OLD and, I guess if I were honest, somewhat irrelevant to my life. I was young and excited about the future before me. The last 20 years have flown by in a blur–so filled with activity and new experiences and busyness. And now much of what I was looking forward to is in my past, to some extent. Things like falling in love and getting married, having babies, and buying a home. I feel blessed beyond measure to have experienced each of these things. Some of you have had other dreams–maybe it was traveling the world or being a missionary or owning your own company. Many of us, by this time in our lives, have seen the fruition of some of our dearest and most important dreams. So now what?
Now what do we look forward to? Age spots? Wrinkles? Gray hair? Eyes that can’t see as well? Should my priority be to make myself look as young as possible? I can use all kinds of powders and gels and creams and I can eat right and exercise–and they may delay the process of growing old–but they will not stop the process of my body aging. We cannot stop the clock.
In this culture, where physical beauty and youth are so highly valued, it is sometimes easy to feel very irrelevant. We feel like we have little of value to offer young people. They seem like they know it all. But, if I think back on those days, I know two things without a shadow of a doubt–
One (and, by far, the most important): I didn’t know it all, I only thought I did.
And two: The adults who influenced me–the ones I would listen to–were the ones who cared deeply about me.
The Bible says:
Job 12:12 Wisdom is with aged men, and with length of days, understanding.
Proverbs 16:31 Gray hair is a crown of splendor; it is attained by a righteous life.
Proverbs 20:29 The glory of young men is their strength, gray hair the splendor of the old.
There is a natural occurrence of getting wiser as you get older. Yes, there are some exceptions to this. I am sure we can all think of at least one. But most of us, as we experience joy, devastation, even endless days of routine, will be learning. Learning to grow in a deeper walk with God, to trust Him, and to walk by faith. Over the course of the last 20 years, I have learned that I do not have all of the answers. And I have learned that I still have much growing to do on this journey.
But I have also learned how to handle some things in a godly way. And I am learning how to react and respond to the things I cannot change. And, as this learning process occurs, whether we are 22 or 52 or 91, we have learned something that could help a person coming behind us in this journey of life.
May we care deeply about those coming after us. May we share the wisdom that God has granted us through our experiences of living life. And may we continue to look to Him and His word as our final authority. We must remember that it is not our opinions that matter, but what God says. If we live that and speak that and share that, maybe God will use us to help a younger person in need of guidance. Let’s turn our eyes outward and use these years to glorify God and help others along their way!