The inevitable, universal process we call “aging” is both hated and unavoidable. But as many have wryly observed, aging beats the alternative. As we age – when a man grows old, his body manifests the effects of maturation. Years and miles and stresses and the calamities that occur in an imperfect world ultimately take their necessary toll on the strongest among us.
And so the hearing is eventually impaired. We reach for reading glasses, glasses for driving, assistance to give us a semblance of the sight we once took for granted.
As we age, we tire more easily. Stamina is reduced. Breathing becomes labored at the slightest incline. Legs that once carried us cheerfully begin to protest the strain of activity. The strength made available by the muscle of youth retracts and retreats ever so slowly but inevitably.
A man views these as weaknesses and as impairments. Woman sees the deficiencies; she notices the wrinkle, the sag, the line, the fold and the furrow, and she weeps.
And try as we might through the investment of money and of time and of effort, the hearing and the sight and the strength of youth will not return and is finally gone forever.
We are tempted towards sorrow and distress. We wonder when, we wonder where the process of decay will conclude. It all is such a sad and unhappy condition.
But perhaps God in His infinite and perfect wisdom has arranged, and through the introduction of man’s sin into the world, has caused the human DNA to be effected by that sin in such as way that scripture is confirmed when it asserts, “by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for all have sinned.”
Perhaps “effected” should more accurately be rendered “infected.” and that by the disease of sin death becomes the eventual conclusion of the aging process.
But God is more gracious, and so with time the hearing fades that man might better hear the still, small voice of God’s Holy Spirit. The sight dims that we might more clearly see God and God’s purposes.
Physical strength is abated so that we might lean more heavily upon the God Who never fails and whose joy is our strength.
Do not view the passing of years and the perishing of physical abilities as curse or as undesirable: God is preparing you to see, to perceive and to appreciate the King in all His might and majesty, in His greatness and all His glory.
God is detuning your ear from the sounds of a temporal life to the frequency of eternity. God is preparing to fill you with the power of the ages through the fuller dwelling of His Spirit in you.
The corruption of the physical body eventuates in death, but death, to the follower of Christ leads only to life. Deafness concludes in hearing, and blindness in seeing.
The process of deterioration, as is true in all of the mysteries of God is in reality a process of restoration, of renovation, of re-creation. We must decrease that He might in us, increase.
Nadine Goodman said:
Love this. I remember my sister, Ginger, once saying something I believe to be very profound. When someone says, “it’s better than the alternative”, they are usually referring to another year older. Ginger’s response is a short, to the point, “no it’s not”. What could possibly be better than going “home”? Being human, we struggle against aging. I continue to do that. However, I am so very much at peace knowing “home” is the very best alternative. Just wanted to share. Thanks for your posts. Truly enjoy them.
Indeed, Ginger’s observation is both profound and painfully true: Isn’t it paradoxical that we Christians sing about the wonders and glories of heaven, and then fight to avoid our appointment with eternity and with the God of our salvation? But the familiar (earth life) is known and the unfamiliar (heaven life) has yet to be seen, known, experienced. So I suppose the question is, do we truly believe God? Do we believe Jesus’ declaration? “I go to prepare a place for you, and if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am there you may be also.”
Jay Becker said:
This was a timely post for me – wonderful.
“But God is more gracious, and so with time the hearing fades that man might better hear the still, small voice of God’s Holy Spirit. The sight dims that we might more clearly see God and God’s purposes.
Physical strength is abated so that we might lean more heavily upon the God Who never fails and whose joy is our strength.”
This so resonates with me – to know the increased reality of the Spirit. Help me Lord to keep my perspective, and attitude, right so that I might be open to what you are doing in me – what you are speaking and what you showing me. Just as I have learned about pain and physical limitation, it is initially seen as a weakness, yet in Christ I experience a different reality, and that is of the spiritual man He is bringing forth in me.
I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit. Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong.
2 Pet 1:19
…until the Day dawns, and Christ the Morning Star shines in your hearts
Learning to depend on the spiritual strength and not the physical strength, to rely more on the person of the Holy Spirit and less on my own resources.
This really can be a glorious reality, for there are times that even when I am in pain and limitations, I know where I am in better off because I live more by the life of Christ in me (Gal 2:20).
Maybe this is a new way to look at abundant life (John 10:10)