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Whatever season of life you’re in, God has equipped you to flourish—to live in the transforming power and beauty of His grace. As we age, we can easily lose sight of this message as cultural ideals glorifying youth take center stage.
In the book, Aging With Grace, Sharon W. Betters and Susan Hunt offer present-day and biblical examples of women who rediscovered Gospel-rooted joy in their lives. Equipped with a biblical view of aging, Aging with Grace will help you encounter afresh the Gospel that “is big enough, good enough, and powerful enough to make every season of life significant and glorious.”
Aging with Grace: My Destiny and My Destination
My desire to age with grace and even knowing how to do it will not make it happen.
Life is unpredictable and our crazy days and busy schedules can leave us overwhelmed. We think we know how to respond to the pressures. But the details of life clutter our minds. We become bogged down, and suddenly and unexpectedly we forget our destiny and our destination.
What is our destiny as children of another kingdom? The noun “destiny” is a predetermined, inevitable, irresistible, course of events. It’s like getting on a roller coaster. Once it starts you can’t get off. Your destiny is to go through those loops and down that hill, and there is nothing you can do to change it.
I love the way Susan Hunt, co-author of the book, Aging with Grace, puts it. She sometimes hears older people say, “I’m OK under the circumstances,” or, “I’m hangin’ in there.”
“Under” and “hanging” are not the destiny of God’s people.
When we become Christians, our destiny immediately changes from living a life focused on self, to putting God’s glory on display. It’s no more about me. It’s about Him.
Ephesians 1:4-6 tells us that we are PREdestined.
Even as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before Him. In love He predestined us for adoption to Himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of His will, to the praise of His glorious grace, with which He has blessed us in the Beloved.
This is our destiny. That we should be to the praise of His glorious grace. And it can’t be changed.
Destination is different than destiny. Simply put,
Before salvation, Hell.
After salvation, Heaven.
There are clues in Psalm 92:5-10 that show us the difference in the destiny and the destination of those who worship God and those who don’t. Knowing these can help us to age with grace in a culture that is anti-aging.
"How great are your works, O LORD! Your thoughts are very deep! The stupid man cannot know; the fool cannot understand this: that though the wicked sprout like grass and all evildoers flourish, they are doomed to destruction forever; but you, O LORD, are on high forever. For behold, your enemies, O LORD, for behold, your enemies shall perish; all evildoers shall be scattered. But you have exalted my horn like that of the wild ox; you have poured over me fresh oil." Psalm 92:5-10
These verses are obviously written by someone who knows their God. One who has experienced God and has been changed forever.
I can’t help but think of Moses. God said He was going to remove His presence from the people after they had worshiped the golden calf. Moses pleaded with God to show him His glory. But what did that mean?
It was all about the experience of knowing God.
"Make me to know your ways, O Lord; teach me your paths. Lead me in your truth and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation; for you I wait all the day long." Psalm 25:4-5
Aging with grace is coming to God’s Word and pleading with God to reveal Himself and His truth. I don’t want just my mind to be taught or informed. I want a transformed heart and life.
Psalm 92 says that God’s thoughts are very deep. Verse 6 says that a “stupid man,” which literally means “brutish” man, cannot know them. The root word is brute. A brute is an animal.
"It is a man’s calling to look up to God and become like God, in whose image he is made. But if he will not look up, the only place he will be able to look is down, and he will begin to behave like an animal." —James Boice
A brutish person does not believe that God has a plan for them. Their thoughts are earthly and never about God.
But these are not the thoughts of one who is aging with grace. A grace-filled Christian is convinced that God knows her thoroughly, has a plan for each day of her life, and is molding her, changing her, to fit into that plan.
But those negative thoughts will creep in at times – I’m too old to change. You can’t teach an old dog new tricks. I’ve done my time…let someone younger take over. While these thoughts do come to mind, it is what we do with them, how we act on them, that matters.
Acting and speaking instinctively is brutish. It is having an earthly perspective instead of a heavenly one. As we age, we must not give in to a negative attitude. In the midst of our diminishing strength and increasing pains, let’s remember our destiny. To know God.
"We are never too old to look up and be transformed from beast to beauty…" —Susan Hunt
"…though the wicked sprout like grass and all evildoers flourish, they are doomed to destruction forever; but you, O LORD, are on high forever." Psalm 92:7-8
"I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth." Psalm 121:1-2
We live in fearful times—disease, killings, inflation, wars. It is easy for us to get distracted and forget to look up.
After writing this book, Aging with Grace, Susan Hunt’s husband suddenly became ill and passed away three months later. God used the principles in this book to sustain her. During his sickness her prayer was that God would give her joy and gladness in the midst of this trying time. She expected peace, but what she didn’t expect was the joy. What it really came down to was her focus. She looked up instead of down.
What does it mean, practically speaking, to look up instead of down? It is to not be fearful. It is to see the eternal instead of the temporal. II Cor 4:18 says,
“we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.”
Look at Psalm 92:8-11, and you will see the gospel.
When Jesus died on the cross, His enemies were scattered. One thing that is not quite as obvious in these verses is that not only were His enemies scattered, but His children were gathered. Unified because of the cross.
Psalm 106:47 says,
"Save us, O Lord our God, and gather us from among the nations, that we may give thanks to your holy name and glory in your praise."
Jesus wanted to gather Jerusalem, like a hen gathers its babies under its wing, but they would not let him. (Luke 13:34) Today He desires to gather us under His wing. Will we be gathered?
Jesus is calling, Come unto me all you who labor, and I will give you rest. What does this “coming to Him” or “gathering” involve? It involves waving the white flag of surrender. Aging with grace involves being gathered.
God is a gatherer by nature. And because God has put His glory, His character in us, those who are His are gatherers by nature also. To be a gatherer is one who makes others feel welcomed and comforted. Including those who have strayed and are trying to find their way back. A gatherer provides a safe place for others to repent.
Make a point as you age to be gathered by Jesus, and to be a gatherer of others.
If we want to flourish, we must stay in community. Close to other believers. It is in their presence that we will see joy and gladness in the midst of grief and pain. Their hope in the Lord will inspire us to hope also.
Whatever may happen,
"we [will] not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day," (II Corinthians 4:16)
and this renewal takes place through the body of Christ.
Jesus reminds us of the importance of…community when He says,
“Where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them” (Matthew 18:20).
"A temptation of old age is to withdraw, but we flourish when we gather with God’s people because He is there." —Susan Hunt
Look up, be gathered, stay close, and be ever-aging with grace!
How are you aging with grace today, friend?
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