Word for the day by Christian Education Forum
OLD AGE THAT COMBINES FAITH AND EXPERIENCEScripture Isaiah 40: 21 – 31
“He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might, he increases might.” Isaiah 40:29
According to William Shakespear’s famous Act “As You Like It”, there are seven stages in the life of a man, which are infancy, childhood, adolescence, youth, middle age, old age and decrepitude, also called second childhood, sans teeth, sans eyesight and sans everything. Everybody has to go through these different stages of life without exemption.
The general concept that aged people are the glory of the past is not correct. They are our asset for the present and for the future. In today’s world, the number of old age people is considerably increasing. It is true that as we grow old, eye sight will decrease, hearing will impair, walking unsteady, voice shaky and need support of each other to carry on. As mobility minimizes, we need to maximize connectivity through all means and ways. It is generally said that four looks are required in our life. Look back and thank God, look ahead and trust God, Look around and serve God and look within and strengthen Him. Life is the greatest gift of God and we must use our time wisely. Since the best is yet to come, make use of our time the best way possible.
Old age is respected because people gained wisdom and experience as they grew older. Caleb was 85 years old when he asked Joshua to assign him the hill country of Anakim giants, and he captured the city of Hebron and drove out the giants. Micheal Angelo was still designing churches at the age of 88. Albert Schweitzer was opening a hospital in Africa at the age of 89. In our times, our late Valia Metropolitan Chrysostom Thirumeni engaged in creative actions in a very effective way, and continued to serve people around him even after handing over the charge of Metropolitan to his successor Late Joseph Mar Thoma Metropolitan. Billy Graham said, “Old is authentic, old is genuine, old is valuable.” Isaiah 46: 3 -4 says “I have cared for you from the time you were born, I am your God and will take care of you until you are old and your hair is gray”. It would be good to blend the faith in God and the vast life experience gained by the old age people through different stages of one’s life and used for the benefit of others and the community at large. The faith and the rich experience of the old age people are resources which are the strength of the present and inspiration of the future.
In the scripture passage we meditate today, the prophet Isaiah presents us with the following three aspects of God:-:
(1) God is the Creator of all (vs.22, 26, 28):
God’s creation extends not only to the earth (v.28), but to the whole universe (vs. 22, 26). This can be seen in the first chapter of Genesis. Creation is described in language understandable in every period of history. There are certain facts which the Bible makes clear. Creation was accomplished by a series of definite supernatural acts of God. The material world is not eternal. It had a definite beginning, and It was created by God out of nothing. The very material of which it is made up was itself created by God (Heb.11.3).
(2) God’s Providence(vs.23, 24,29):
God’s providence includes the whole of nature (vs,22, 24), history (v.23) and individual people (v.29). The world and the universe do not keep going automatically. They are dependent upon the will and power of God who controls everything according to certain unchangeable laws. We call these the ‘the laws of nature’, and they show God’s concern for His creation down to the most minute detail. Many people find it difficult to reconcile the providence of God with the free will of man; but the truth is that we are dependent upon God’s providence.
(3) God is the One who empowers us (vs. 30 -31):
Life can be renewed and empowered as we grow old. Many old age people are disappointed because they feel that old age cannot be renewed. This is not true. Life can be totally renewed as we grow old when we combine our faith in God and life experience we gained. The example of eagle is very relevant here. Among the birds, the eagle has the longest life. It can live up to 70 years. However, at the age of 40, the eagle has to make a crucial decision to renew its life. For renewing its life, it has to go back and sit on a nest. First it has to hit its old beak on the rock and tear it away. A new beak will come after a few days. It has to do the same with its talons. Finally, it has to pull out the old feathers from the wings. After some days new feathers will appear. Thus, the eagle can fly back to live another 30 years. Those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount on wings like eagles.
Let us thank God, who is the creator of all, for His providence, and empowering us to lead a victorious and purpose-driven life in all the days of our life.
Lord, give me Thy grace, and the courage to stand for truth to strengthen the very fabric of our communities through sharing and caring. Lord, help me to combine my Christian faith and life experience to make the life of others shining and growing in all the days to come. Amen
Thought for the Day
: How we can grow old gracefully and find meaning in life?
The Mar Thoma Church Staten Island, New York