5. Grace full ageing re affirms our Life-Long Dependence on God

Our financial advisor met with my wife and me recently to review our retirement funds and in the process he asked, with a twinkle in his eye, “How long do you plan to live?”

I smiled, “It depends. How long can I afford to live?”

We both knew that my lifespan had nothing to do with my pension funds and everything to do with God’s provision. We live dependent upon Him for our every breath. Senior adults experience this dependency in many ways.

However, our western culture applauds independence and self-sufficiency even into our senior years. We celebrate those who can “make it on their own”. Slowly, but surely, senior years begin to undermine that myth. We need help putting on our shoes, help to make good decisions about our life, help to drive us to appointments, urgent warnings to relinquish our driver’s license, support when we walk. We eventually buy “DEPENDS”! In short, the senior years reinforce what all age groups need to know - we are dependent beings. This truth remains despite our hard work to convince ourselves otherwise.

Similar to Psalm 71 noted in the previous essay, Psalm 90 presents a disparaging reflection on life. Although we do not know when Moses wrote this psalm, the words speak of a writer who has seen much of life. He describes life soberly as, “…many days with which you have afflicted us”; “we are consumed by your anger”; and finally, “…we finish our days with a groan.” Some of us who care for seniors have heard those last groans.

Moses even opined, “The best of them are trouble and sorrow for they quickly pass away.” God is eternal. Humans are ephemeral. God is all powerful; humans are frail. Seemingly by reflecting upon the opening chapters of Genesis, Moses concluded that at the command of God, we quickly return to dust. We are swept away (literally washed away as in a flood). No rosy pictures here!

And yet, Moses also proclaimed that God is our refuge and strength and he prayed for God’s favor. “Make us glad for as many days as you have afflicted us…may the favor of the Lord our God rest on us.” (Psalm 90:15-17). With the Lord, each day is a birthday, given by God’s grace.

A more positive message came from David during his senior years. Reflecting upon life, he wrote, “I was young and now I am old, yet I have never seen the righteous forsaken.” (Psalm 37:25). The righteous share generously, the Lord upholds the righteous (vs. 17). Seniors have the distinct advantage of reinforcing the biblical truth of God’s provision with a lifetime of proven experience. Seniors have a long and rich past, as well as an exciting present and a promising future.

The prophet Isaiah challenged the people of God who lived in exile, far from their home. They worried if they could still depend upon God. Surrounded by empty idols that offered empty promises, the people were urged by God, "...you whom I have carried from your birth; even to your old age I will be the same. To your graying years, I shall be the same. I shall carry you. I shall deliver you." (Isaiah 46: 3-4).

Questions and Reflections:

  • What answers to prayer have you known that can be shared with others?
  • What seniors have you known who exude trust in the Lord?