I have become as a wonder to many, But You [are] my strong refuge. 8 Let my mouth be filled [with] Your praise [And with] Your glory all the day. 9 Do not cast me off in the time of old age; Do not forsake me when my strength fails.
… 18 Now also when [I am] old and grayheaded, O God, do not forsake me, Until I declare Your strength to [this] generation, Your power to everyone [who] is to come. 19 Also Your righteousness, O God, [is] very high, You who have done great things; O God, who [is] like You?PSALM 71:7-9, 18-19
WORSHIPPING GOD IN MY OLD AGE
In high school I ran track. Well actually I threw the shotput and discus, so I did the “field” portion of track and field. We were a small school and there was a meet where we didn’t have anyone running the 880 event. The coach asked me if I’d like to compete. I was relatively in shape and I thought to myself, “How hard can it be?” So I signed up to run. We lined up, the starting shot was fired and I took off in a full on dead sprint. I glanced behind me to see that I had taken a huge lead. I thought to myself, “I’ve got this in the bag.” Then as I was running out of steam near what I thought was the end, my team yelled to keep going!?! Come to find out the 880 was a two lap race… I had thought it was just one!
I wasn’t in such great shape that I could run two laps at a dead sprint, one was pushing it. So over the next moment as I pushed myself as hard as I possibly could to just finish I saw every other runner pass me. I came in dead last at a pace that was more suited for pulling a pan out of the oven than running a race. I learned a lot of valuable lessons that day. I learned to never count your chickens before they hatch and that it’s really not how you start the race that matters… it’s how you finish. You may faulter at the begging and still win, you may start out well and still lose.
The Psalmist discusses his youth and his age in Psalm we are looking at today. As I’ve crossed over the 40 year age mark I’ve begun looking more and more at the later laps of my life. I want to live well and run the race that God has set before me. That means that later laps matter!
Some people hit a certain age and slow down. They’ve raised their kids to a point of self sufficiency or they retire from work and so they seek to retire from worship and ministry as well. Or maybe they just coast. Who would blame them, they are tired and weary. There are plenty of young folks behind them who bring so much more energy… They all but quit right before the race is over.
The Psalmist prays today. Lord, Do not forsake me in my old age… in a sense don’t put me out to pasture yet. If I’ve got life, I want to give it in worshipping the Lord. I don’t want to slow down on the last laps of life, I want to kick it up. I don’t want to wane in my devotion to the Lord, I want to maximize what little time I have left so that others see the supreme value of worshipping the Lord. I want to run the race well and I want to finish well!
I know that we each run the race set before us. When we get to the later years of life the struggles are real. The issues with our health, mobility, and sensibility may be broad and challenging. But we should each ask ourselves, “What does it look like to run this lap of my life well?” How do we handle our trials? Do we see them as there to BREAK us or MAKE us (James 1:1-4)? What sort of attitude do we pass on to others? Do we celebrate the work of the Lord wherever we see it or do we curse the next generation under our breath? The Psalmist asks God that he wouldn’t be forgotten and in a sense that he wouldn’t forget his opportunity to still celebrate and worship the Lord. We should run the race with endurance!
Father, Thank you for all the blessings that come with youth and old age. There are so many things we are able to do when we are young and so many things we know by experience when we are older and some where in the middle of it all we hit an apex of both ability and knowledge. But don’t let my inexperience of youth nor my decreased ability in my old age become an excuse not to pursue you with my whole heart! Lord I pray that you would have all of me for all of my life. Please Lord let the last laps of my life be the best laps, let what I may lack in strength be supplemented with desire and a humble attitude of worship! You are worthy of all praise, honor, and glory! In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
I’m reading and blogging the Psalms Through The Summer. I’d love for you to join me. You can find out a little more here.