Age is no barrier to being used by God
4 MINUTE READ
People talk about ageing gracefully, embracing the gray hairs, appreciating what helped us grow, and investing in the next generation. Yet ageing often brings regrets, worries, fears and disability. “Don’t get old!”, people say as they smile through the weariness of physical decline. The years are inevitable, but there is a crown of glory that we can look forward to.
“Gray hair is a crown of glory;
it is gained in a righteous life.”
As I get older, I find I am much more aware of life’s stages: childhood play, disciplined learning, milestones of family life, loss of loved ones and the day we ourselves take that final breath. Each stage of life has its own challenges and celebrations, and God remains our fortress through it all.
Never too old, never too weak
What an encouragement it is that God works through people of every age, nation, gifting and capacity. Many elderly and disabled people were used powerfully by God:
“Each stage of life has its own challenges and celebrations, and God remains our fortress through it all.”
- Moses was 80 years old when he spoke to Pharaoh.
- The apostle Paul ministered to people despite having a “thorn in the flesh”, commonly thought to reference a disease affecting his eyesight.
- The prophetess Anna was 84 years old at the time she recognised the young Jesus as Messiah and began to proclaim the good news.
- Sarah and Elizabeth were both older women well past child-bearing years. In their old age, Sarah became the mother of Isaac, patriarch of Israel, and Elizabeth the mother of John the Baptist.
There are also examples to be seen in more recent times:
- Pastor Lee Jong Rak continues to care for, and speak God’s life over disabled children and abandoned babies despite his age and medical issues. “The Dropbox” is a documentary that covers some of his work and testimony.
- Nick Vujicic was born without properly formed arms or legs and shares his testimony through multiple platforms as an evangelist and motivational speaker.
- George Matheson went blind in his youth. His blindness caused his fiancée to leave him and he never married. Yet he knew God was faithful and composed the hymn O Love That Wilt Not Let Me Go.
- Billy Graham died in 2018, aged 99. He continued to share Christ with people right until the end of his earthly life. His book Nearing Home, was published in 2011, and addresses some of the challenges our faith may face in older years of life. He ends triumphantly, however, in reminding us that getting older on earth also means getting closer to our real home, eternity with Christ.
Lessons from Nonnas and Nonnos
When I “grow up” and grow old, I want to have the kind of seasoned, matured and steadfast faith I see in the nonnas and nonnos of my local church.
Age has not wearied their passion for Christ, and it has not lessened their zeal for sharing the good news with strangers on the street. It has brought physical losses with reduced mobility, pain, hospital visits and the loss of spouses, but they have remained steadfast in praising God. These nonnas and nonnas are an inspiration to me. They show me what it looks like to love God wholeheartedly even when your physical condition means you need to sit down midway through the service.
They might not be on stage with a microphone in their hand, but the genuineness of their faith proclaims Christ to all they meet. They gladly worship Him despite their griefs on earth. They lovingly pray for and build up the younger members of the church, giving them opportunities to serve and grow and learn. They remember the testimonies of God throughout their life and joyfully share these powerful moments in everyday conversation. They see death approaching and are not afraid of it, but are confident that they will be with Christ that day.
One way to grow old but not weary, is to keep refreshed daily with hope in Christ. This hope reminds us that there is a better day still to come, a day when we will be home with Christ. What a glorious day to look forward to!
Rather than letting the years hinder our faith, let us age gloriously, having the eternal perspective of knowing that life on earth is a journey towards our true home with Christ.
Let us celebrate the elderly, persevere through times of disability, lean on God our strength, and never cease to testify of what He has done for us. Age is no barrier to being used by God and who knows, perhaps the best is yet to come!
Dr Kristen Dang Dr Kristen Dang is a family doctor who loves all things creative. She lives with her husband and daughter in Adelaide, and writes a regular blog (lostnowfoundk) on life with God. Her second blog (lilyofthevalleysk), aims to share her love for Jesus through the creative arts.