When I was younger, it was easy for most of my thoughts to be about my future—what kind of job will I get, who will I marry, will I have kids, will I be successful? Then, all those things happened, more or less, and I no longer had to wonder so much about my future; I found that I tended to spend a lot more of my mental energy simply living in the NOW.
And then, slowly, as I got even older, I began to realize that the lion’s share of my life is behind me, and the years that are left to me here on earth can be counted on my fingers and toes—maybe a little more, maybe a little less, but basically on my fingers and toes. With this in mind, now my thoughts tend to fall more and more to the Great Beyond.
I became a born-again Christian when I was 17, and there have been times in my life when I have been closer to God, and times when I was not so close. But even when I was “not so close,” that never negated the FACT that God loves me and saved me through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, His son. That has been the one thing that, no matter what else has been going on in my life, I can always come back to. That is my safe place, my refuge. My foundation.
And now, as I enter my 60’s, more and more I find myself thinking about that Great Beyond, about my everlasting life in Heaven with God, which “eye has not seen and ear has not heard, nor has it dawned on the heart of man all the wonders that God has planned for those that love him.”
That is my FOUNDATION. That is what everything is all about. That’s what it’s always been all about, but now as I get older, and I think about this more and more, I find myself increasingly grateful for God’s love, and for His provision. I know that no matter what else happens in these last decades of my life, I have this to look forward to: everlasting life in Heaven with God, the creator of all things, and Jesus, my Savior, and lover of my soul.
HOW can life possibly be anything but glorious, with that to look forward to? All these other concerns which I’ll deal with here in this blog—physical health, wrinkles, retirement, grandchildren—absolutely pale in comparison to the unfathomable joy of knowing that IT ALL COMES OUT ALL RIGHT IN THE END. No, even better than all right, it comes out best of all!
In a way, then, I would have to say that aging is in fact a blessing in disguise, because it forces me to focus on that which is most real and most important in the grand scheme of things. If I was just trying to make myself comfortable to enjoy my “Golden Years,” that would be sad indeed, without the certain knowledge that there is so much more in store for me when I get to the other side.
Once, many many years ago, when I was that young person I described in my first paragraph, wondering who I would marry and how many kids I might have and what my future might hold, I happened to see a very old person, bent over and hobbling down the street, leaning on a cane. In that moment, I had a revelation, perhaps even an epiphany, as I suddenly realized that the longer you are alive on this earth, though the body may eventually break down and give out, the same years that cause decay to the physical afford each and every one of us the opportunity to mature spiritually. So that, in the end, though we might be outwardly hobbling along with a cane, inwardly we might be soaring like an eagle, strengthened and established in our relationship with God and our certaint and joyful expectation of what lies beyond the throwing off of our physically infirm bodies.
Now, I admit, I’ve squandered many of those years when I had that opportunity to become more spiritually mature and strengthened. There’s nothing I can do about that now. But there’s something I CAN do right now, and that’s to recognize and commit to building up my spirit day by day, even as my body, despite all my best efforts, is falling into decay.
On the one hand, being in my 60’s heralds the beginning of a time when “aging” becomes so much more a “thing” I have to deal with. But at the same time, these Golden Years are also my golden opportunity to put on blinders to so many of the distractions of earthly life, and focus on what’s really important, and grow, day by day, in Grace in Truth.