[Growing in grace] they will still thrive and bear fruit and prosper in old age; They will flourish and be vital and fresh [rich in trust and love and contentment]; Psalm 92:14 Amplified
I must admit that I never thought of myself as ever growing ‘old.’ Older, maybe, but certainly not ‘old.’ I’ve always believed that women simply grow older and that things like shoes get ‘old,’ that’s why we eventually discard or replace them. Humans, especially women, are irreplaceable. (I see your grin.)
Seeing those first strands of ‘grey’ hairs in the mirror ~~ that was startling. I thought the light was merely casting a different appearance on my otherwise youthful mane. Not!
Walking out to the garage to retrieve something ~~ that once I get there, I can’t remember what on earth I was planning to get. Huh?!
And when did my favorite restaurant start dimming the lights? I need to shine my cell phone on the menu to see what’s been added. Yikes!
Applying for jobs has suddenly become a strategic mission in which I must not reveal too many details on paper about my lengthy experience, and certainly omit the years (because there’s too much that reflects back to the last millennium).
All of this began to set a ripple of concern in motion ~~ had I actually reached my point of ‘older-ism?’ Had this era sneaked up on me and I was too oblivious to its presence? Will I now be on that side of the survey spectrum?
The conversations with God started to express my ongoing concern for ‘growing older.’ My concern was that I would no longer be included among the ranks of contemporary and knowledgeable about what’s current. And then one day He Whispered …
“Moses’ greatest works came after he turned forty years old.”
I was riveted to my seat. And I could feel a smile rising from the corners of my mouth.
Yes … Moses, Abraham, Sarah, Elizabeth … they were so much older than what I had considered to be acceptable and productive years on earth. Productive in terms of being effectively used by God.
Let’s return to our Scripture verse … thrive, bear fruit and prosper. Verbs that are describing someone on the side of youthfulness. But these are God-breathed Words to describe His Beloved servants that have kept close to Him and kept His Word close to them. They live according to these precepts and teach them to the generations coming up behind them. And God says such individuals will thrive, bear fruit and prosper.
According to definition, thrive means to grow or develop well or vigorously. But wait, isn’t that descriptive of younger persons? I thought … ah! And as usual, there are some things that shouldn’t be left to human thinking … God says we will grow or develop well even to the point of vigorously. Those are pretty powerful words to be spoken of an old lady, wouldn’t you agree? The truth spoken here says that we have the potential for continuous development and that it can occur with great intensity. I love that! Like a resurrected spirit and mind are ours to behold in our later years.
The definition of bearing fruit means being fertile or producing much fruit. As the body ages, I know that it loses some of its strength and agility; joints and bones are challenged, either as a result of genetics or lifestyle or injury. The memory starts to fade or just doesn’t retain information with the same vitality it once had. But once again, God declares that those who are dwelling according to His Word will continue to bear much fruit. If the tree is regularly watered (by the Spirit) and the (Son) sun continues to shine upon it, its roots will push down into the rich soil and cause the tree to bring forth much fruit. Do you catch that, Girlfriend, not just fruit but much fruit. In spite of the menial estimation we or the world holds over us, God says we are still of much good use in His Plan.
The dictionary defines prosperous as having the ability to be successful, increase, boom. Maybe this I why I have such a difficult time with thinking about ‘retirement.’ God declares that His Own will enlarge in their older days. Being successful at starting new things or doing the same things ~~ essentially what is God-breathed is ordained by Him and only knows to increase. I like God’s math!
If I didn’t have a mentor to teach me these things I would be on the verge of panic right now. But I have seen what that kind of God-breathed vitality looks like.
The only way to grow older gracefully is to grow older in the grace that saved you.
It is this age-old grace that The Lord has been Whispering to me ~~ it’s not to be feared but rather to be embraced.
If we have mentors to gently show us the way ~~ to lead us into the right mindset and share with us their timeless insight ~~ we would likely step confidently forward into the next chapter of our lives with greater faith instead of fear.
God says that we have the potential for being rich in trust, love and contentment.
I want those things, don’t you, Girlfriend? Trust doesn’t come easy as we get older ~~ the world teaches us to be skeptical and cynical about the wrong things, causing us to hinder the development of meaningful relationships. Hindering or blocking relationships prohibits the potential for love and sharing the love of Christ through meaningful relationships.
Vitality and freshness? Living well into what the world refers to as middle age often feels like the Renaissance Middle Ages ~~ slightly old and rustic and sometimes a bit outdated. But our God says we will flourish and be vital and fresh. Just the sound of all those words coming together gives this tired soul an uplift. When I think of flourishing I envision a garden rich with fruits and vegetables, surrounded by lush greenery ~~ a bounty for eyes to behold!
Rich in love and trust and contentment ~~ now that sounds like a party in paradise. A sweet gathering of my favorite people (family and friends) just enjoying one another’s presence. For me, genuine relationships delivers contentment. And love and trust are the heartbeat of those relationships.
If having The Lord close produces all of these amazing things, then I want to remain as close to Him as possible ~~ for all eternity. I’m starting to get a glimpse of Paradise, and I believe the ultimate best is yet to come.
But while I’m still here, I know that I am divinely purposed for His Plan ~~ and so are you, Girlfriend ~~ regardless of where we now stand on the age spectrum. And if you don’t mind, “I will take more of that face cream, Jackie!” Just because I’m closer to Heaven today than I was yesterday, doesn’t mean I have to look the part.
Are you willing to forge ahead with me ~~ arm-in-arm with your Sisters-in-Christ ~~ to grow old in grace and be blessed with great love and contentment? Sounds good to me!
I love you to Heaven and Back, Girlfriend ~~