As my years lengthen, I’m thankful God views “old age” much differently than our “advanced” Western civilization. Today, it is common to find the elderly locked away in rest homes, where perhaps most spend their final days in a quiet loneliness, no matter how their children on the fast track of technology try to pretend otherwise.
That’s why as much as we love our children, our confidence is not to be in them but in God – and especially so in the years of coming and going – gray hair comes, eyesight goes; wrinkles come, hearing goes. Yet God is far from finished with us in our 60’s, 70’s or 80’s and beyond. Aging trees often yield the sweetest fruit. Besides, as we age we learn to work smarter, not harder. Experience brings more production and less panting. And words of wisdom can flow from the aged like an artesian well.
Take an unnamed older saint, a humble preacher, who was among a thousand Christians who had to listen to a Dr. Paul Tillich speak for over two hours on the “intellectual” certainty that Jesus’ resurrection was mere tradition, not truth. When he asked for questions, there was only silence – for 30 seconds. That’s when that white-haired black minister stood and began eating an apple. “Doctor Tillich, I never read those books you read. I know nothing about Niebuhr and Heidigger. But this apple I just ate – was it bitter or sweet?” The scholar said he couldn’t know because, “I haven’t tasted your apple.” The white-haired saint answered, “Neither have you tasted my Jesus!” The audience erupted in applause, while the scholar quickly left the platform. “Old age” had just brought forth more fruit!