Saturday, September 1, 2018

Making the Most of Mid-Life

“As for the days of our life, they contain seventy years, or if due to strength, eighty years… So teach us to number our days, that we may present to You a heart of wisdom.” Ps. 90:10,12

I’ll never forget the sense of disbelief I felt the day my husband turned 40.     A woman at the church he was pastoring made a passing remark that we were “middle-aged”.   At first I begged to differ with her, until I did the math.  Psychology Today defines middle age as being between 40-65. 
Just recently, incredulity struck again when I heard a news story about someone who was arrested for “elder” abuse.   The victim was younger than I am.
Time has such a mysterious way of slipping away before we realize it.   It just keeps moving along as the glorious old hymn says, “Time like an every rolling stream bears all its sons away” 
Whether a person is a Christian or not, the inevitable is just around the corner.    The world may scramble around trying to squeeze every ounce of their fleeting youth back into the tube,  but Christians shouldn't be falling for such melarkey. 
We've been blessed with a wonderful opportunity to prepare for “the evil days” Ecc. 12:1.   Consider the many benefits we have in middle age. 
Those of us who have children  have come to or are nearing the end of our child rearing years. No more sleepless nights, diapers, and emergency calls to the Poison Control Center because our toddler just ingested who knows what.     As our children become  independent we will have more free time to redirect our energy.  
Most of us still have relatively good health.  Most of us are established in our livelihood, community, and church.   
This season of life has the potential to  become one of the most pleasant and spiritually productive of all seasons.   Opportunities to serve in different ways and to increase our Biblical knowledge either independantly or formally abound. 
When I was younger I loved seeking new adventures and thought nothing of packing up the family and moving to a new state.  Now the thought of even moving across town makes me shudder.    
A curious thing happens as we move beyond the middle years into the senior years.   We become less flexible when it comes to change.   There’s good reason why the phrase “being set in their ways” became popular.    
Change is difficult for older people because just as surely as aging affects our joints and memory, aging also affects our emotions and our ability to adjust to new situations.   As we begin to feel more vulnerable we feel safer with the familiar, whether it’s where we shop, the mechanic we take our car to, or the friends we have grown to trust. 
How we live out our faith in Christ in our middle years will have an impact on us when those things that are familiar and comfortable begin to disappear.   Shunning spiritual mediocrity in midlife and adopting habits of waiting on God, prayer, study and service,  will help strengthen us when everything else begins to crumble.    
But regarldess of  what season in life we happen to be in,  we should always be numbering our days and seeking our ultimate satisfaction and hope in Christ alone.   
My hope is built on nothing less  
than Jesus' blood and righteousness;  
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,  
but wholly lean on Jesus' name.  
On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand;  
all other ground is sinking sand.  - Edward Mote

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