Wednesday, October 22, 2014

My Age, Your Age, Any Age Will Do

My Age, Your Age,
Any Age Will Do

by Misti Cleveland
            As I approach 50 years of age, I have had mixed feelings about it.  Afterall, fifty is only middle aged if you live to 100!  I guess the likelihood of that is improving with medical break-throughs, but who wants to be middle aged even? We all want to be young forever. And fifty sounds so old!  

            Some say, “Age is just a number.” 

            Others say, “You’re only as old as you feel.” 

            Those are fine and dandy, well-meaning sayings, but the truth is that doesn’t always help.  What if you don’t “feel” young?  What if you are facing physical challenges in your body that limit or prohibit your activities?  That certainly doesn’t make for feeling young and full of life. But does age really matter? 

            All these things have been stirring around in my mind.  I watch as those around me struggle with that number, and numbers higher than that.  They battle that feeling of insignificance, fear that life won’t get any better than it is right now and that might not be exactly great, or fear of, even, death approaching and life never fulfilled their hopes or dreams.  So, how do we handle our age?  How do we handle another birthday when there is apparently nothing good left for which to look forward?

            My Heavenly Father has been listening, even though I have been feeling okay about it lately, and actually feeling optimistic about what the future holds.  Even so, I realize that my struggle to accept aging has not been mine alone and so He opened my eyes to the truth about age to me as I read my Bible this morning.  He helped me realize the real question, the only important question, “Does our age matter to God?”

            So, I sat down to read my Bible this morning and it fell open to Genesis 7:5 & 6.  I hadn’t been thinking about age when I opened to this, but these verses jumped off the page, so I paid attention.  I knew God was wanting to drop a nugget of gold into my heart.  This is what it says, “And Noah did according to all that the Lord commanded him.  Noah was 600 years old when the floodwaters were on the earth.” 

            “600!” I thought to myself.  “Holy cow, that’s old! Good grief, how old was he when he died, if he was 600 when he built the ark!?  And what age would he be according to today’s life span?”  So, I did a little hunting and figuring. 

            Gen. 9:28 & 29 say, “And Noah lived after the flood three hundred fifty years.  So all the days of Noah were 950, and he died.”  NINE HUNDRED FIFTY!!  Yowza!  In our day, looking at Noah’s life-span, let’s say he would have lived to about 95.   That would mean at SIXTY years old, God told him to build the ark to save the animals and his family from the flood—the destruction of wicked mankind.  At SIXTY!  I will be FIFTY in February.  Will God call me to do something monumental at 60?  Probably not.  And what do we know about Noah before this? Gen. 6:8-10 tell us he was a man of integrity who walked in fellowship with God and had 3 sons. So?  This is a wonderful, loving reminder to us that God will use the upright and blameless at ANY age, if they obey him. 

            Consider Abraham and Sarah.   We know a little bit more about their lives of obedience, and even their mistakes.  And yet Abraham was 100 and Sarah was 90, and both past child-bearing years when we see the miracle God did for & through them.  Now, that was in the days when men lived much longer than they do now and Abraham lived substantially longer than Sarah, almost 50 years.  So, being mathematically inclined, after doing a little math, I figured that would make him in our day about 71 and her about 66 when they had Isaac.  Yikes!  Can you imagine?  And consider that they weren’t perfect—Sarah laughed when God said she’d have a baby, and that was after giving her husband her concubine so he could have a baby with her.  And he did it!  So, God obviously didn’t give them Isaac because they were free of sin.

            We cannot forget Samuel.  Samuel was given to the temple by his parents as a baby.  It wasn’t his choice to go there.  But 1 Samuel 2: 18 says, “But Samuel ministered before the Lord, a child girded with a linen ephod,” and 1 Samuel 2:26  “Now the boy Samuel grew and was in favor both with the Lord and with men. And yet as a boy, the Lord called to him and spoke to him what was to come of the priest Eli’s wicked sons and had him tell Eli (Chapter 3).  Then “Samuel grew; the Lord was with him and let none of his words fall to the ground.  And all Israel from Dan to Beersheba knew that Samuel was established to be a prophet of the Lord.  And the Lord continued to appear in Shiloh, for the Lord revealed Himself to Samuel in Shiloh through the word of the Lord.” 1 Samuel 3:19-21  So, Samuel only knew church life and was only a mere child when God began to speak to and through him.  Did he earn it?  Was he simply chosen by God?  Was it because he was a child?

            Hmmm…Noah 60, Abraham 71, Samuel a boy, me 50.  What age are you?  Does it matter?  I think the point of all this is that AGE REALLY IS IRRELEVANT.  God made us to interact with whom He chooses for our mutual good & growth.  He has designed us for His purposes to be fulfilled in His time, no matter what age we are.  “For we are His workmanship created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.”  Eph. 2:10  So whether we are living a day to day life of integrity in fellowship with God like Noah, wandering about thinking we have to take matters into our own hands even though we trust God like Abraham & Sarah, or are raised in the church serving Him like Samuel, if our hearts are for the Lord and we are walking with Him, we are at His disposal to fulfill His purposes at whatever age He wishes. And THAT IS what matters.