Growing old

Growing old

Seventy years are given to us! Some even live to eighty. But even the best years are filled with pain and trouble; soon they disappear, and we fly away. – Psalms 90:10

Ecclesiastes 12:1-14

 1 Don’t let the excitement of youth cause you to forget your Creator. Honor him in your youth before you grow old and say, “Life is not pleasant anymore.”

 2 Remember him before the light of the sun, moon, and stars is dim to your old eyes, and rain clouds continually darken your sky.

 3 Remember him before your legs – the guards of your house – start to tremble; and before your shoulders – the strong men – stoop. Remember him before your teeth – your few remaining servants – stop grinding; and before your eyes – the women looking through the windows – see dimly.

 4 Remember him before the door to life’s opportunities is closed and the sound of work fades. Now you rise at the first chirping of the birds, but then all their sounds will grow faint.

 5 Remember him before you become fearful of falling and worry about danger in the streets; before your hair turns white like an almond tree in bloom, and you drag along without energy like a dying grasshopper, and the caperberry no longer inspires sexual desire. Remember him before you near the grave, your everlasting home, when the mourners will weep at your funeral.

 6 Yes, remember your Creator now while you are young, before the silver cord of life snaps and the golden bowl is broken. Don’t wait until the water jar is smashed at the spring and the pulley is broken at the well.

 7 For then the dust will return to the earth, and the spirit will return to God who gave it.

 13 That’s the whole story. Here now is my final conclusion: Fear God and obey his commands, for this is everyone’s duty.

 14 God will judge us for everything we do, including every secret thing, whether good or bad.

Apart from the ravages of COVID-19 pandemic, the average life expectancy in the U.S. has been on a steady increase. The following statistics are rounded off averages.

The average current life expectancy for U.S. in 2020 is 79 years

The average life expectancy for U.S. in 1970 was 70 years

The average life expectancy for U.S. in 1950 was 68 years

The average life expectancy for U.S. in 1890 was 49 years

The average life expectancy for U.S. in 1860 was 40 years

While Americans are living longer, there is unexpected and unanticipated collateral damage. We are outliving the healthy function of many parts of our bodies: eyes, ears, joints, etc. In part, that is why there are so many different types of replacement surgeries being performed: knee replacements, hip replacements, shoulder replacements, cataract surgery, etc.

One of the major reasons for the overall increase of life expectancy in the last two centuries is the fact that the infant and child mortality rates have decreased by so much. Medical advancements and improved living standards result in people living longer than they did in previous centuries.

“Growing old’s like being increasingly penalized for a crime you haven’t committed” (Pierre Teilhard de Chardin).

Ecclesiastes 12:1-8 provides one of the most imaginative descriptions of old age and death found anywhere in literature. It pictures a house that is falling apart and finally turns to dust. A dwelling place is one biblical metaphor for the human body and taking down a house or tent is a picture of death (Wiersbe).

Picture for a moment buying a brand-new custom built house finished to your specifications. Now imagine that same house 50 years later, then at 80 years after it was first built. Obviously, a lot of things would have to be repaired, replaced, or updated. That is pretty much what our bodies are like. As our bodies age, they show their age.

REFLECT & PRAY

If you must “sow your wild oats,” but pray for a crop failure.

Father as I grow older, may I stand firm on Your Truth, live by it, draw ever closer to You, and share my relationship with You with others.

INSIGHT

Ecclesiastes speaks to all the children of the King whether they are young, old, or in-between. We are encouraged to embrace life and enjoy it at any age. Life on earth without knowing the Father is meaningless and leads to tragedy. But life on earth being a child of the King is intended to be a source of great joy and confidence.

Ecclesiastes 11:7-10 

 7 Light is sweet; how pleasant to see a new day dawning.

 8 When people live to be very old, let them rejoice in every day of life. But let them also remember there will be many dark days. Everything still to come is meaningless.

 9 Young people, it’s wonderful to be young! Enjoy every minute of it. Do everything you want to do within moral boundaries; take it all in. But remember that you must give an account to God for everything you do.

 10 So refuse to worry, and keep your body healthy. But remember that youth, with a whole life before you, is meaningless.

The reality is that we all grow older and lose the vitality of our youth. How we respond to it is a choice we all make. We can embrace it and make the best of our twilight years on planet Earth. Or we can become despondent and fearful and attempt to ward it off.

Gerascophobia is the fear of growing old. One way that people try to fight against aging is plastic surgery. As of 2018, the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, noted that more than 18 million cosmetic procedures were performed. Almost none of them medically necessary. But people are chasing after the elusive but nonexistent fountain of youth.

Regardless of our chronological age, we can choose to be young at heart and mighty in spirit. Many older children of the King have a gentle sweetness and kindness about them. They are very winsome and attractive against the background of the somewhat dark and repressive world in which we live. The Father put us on earth to serve Him throughout our lives, not to serve ourselves. We will never be 20 years old again. But whatever time we have left on earth can be well spent serving the Father.

Regardless of our chronological age, we can choose to be young at heart and mighty in spirit. Many older children of the King have a gentle sweetness and kindness about them. They are very winsome and attractive against the background of the somewhat dark and repressive world in which you live. The Father put us on earth to serve Him throughout our lives, not to serve ourselves. We will never be 20 years old again. But whatever time we have left on earth can be well spent serving the Father.

Regardless of our chronological age, we can choose to be young at heart and mighty in spirit. Many older children of the King have a gentle sweetness and kindness about them. They are very winsome and attractive against the background of the somewhat dark and repressive world in which you live. The Father put us on earth to serve Him throughout our lives, not to serve ourselves. We will never be 20 years old again. But whatever time we have left on earth can be well spent serving the Father.

Isaiah 46:3-4

 3 Listen to me, descendants of Jacob, all you who remain in Israel. I have cared for you since you were born. Yes, I carried you before you were born.  4 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.

Psalms 71:18 Now that I am old and gray, do not abandon me, O God. Let me proclaim your power to this new generation, your mighty miracles to all who come after me.

The best way to have a satisfying adult life and a contented old age is to get a good start early in life and avoid the things that will bring trouble later on. Establish wise practices of health and holiness (Wiersbe).

Psalms 118:24 This is the day which the LORD has made; Let us rejoice and be glad in it.

¯\_()_/¯

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