Standing in front of the mirror looking into my aging eyes I warned my reflection she was going to die. You might think I’m crazy if I tell you how liberating it was for me when I accepted that message.
The day is coming
How many of the billions of this planet’s inhabitants departed from it without dying? It’s possible Elijah, who traveled in a heavenly chariot, and Enoch, who “walked with God, and he was not, for God took him” (Genesis 5:24 ESV), went into eternity without dying, but the Bible doesn’t come right out and say that. We do know graves account for more people who left this world through death than any other way.
What about losing my abilities?
Once we resolve that we’re going to die we can relax and fix our eyes on Jesus. He’s been there, he stole death’s power over us, and he can lead us safely through the “valley of the shadow.”
So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.2 Corinthians 4:16-18 ESV
In an earlier post about my mission trip to Zambia I shared my concerns about losing the ability to serve God in ways I am used to. I wrote that I “wondered how I could be useful if I eventually lost the ability to count pills, or hold sick babies, or bounce along bumpy African roads without crying out in pain.”
What would be the point of living if I can’t “do”?
I concluded, “There can be benefits reaped from experiencing disability. One is that our weakness can give someone an opportunity to practice compassion and service.” My existence can still be a blessing.
In a group text recently my kids, most in their thirties, played with an app that aged their faces to eighty-some years plus. My husband added his photo without the changes, saying “no app needed.” No, he doesn’t really look like he’s eighty. My point is we shouldn’t let thoughts of the mode or timing of our departure get us down, because as the psalmist said, “I trust in you, O Lord; I say, ‘You are my God.’ My times are in your hand . . .” (Psalm 31:14-15a ESV).
The eternal vs the temporary
I’ll never be too old to do what he wants me to do. My age, condition and circumstances don’t catch him off guard. He’s God. He knows his plan and it’s all good.
I’ve learned from earlier lessons that we can trust the promises in the Scriptures. We can be content, even if we lose the ability to do what we like, because our lives only contain temporary afflictions. The suffering that clings to us now holds no comparison to what’s coming.
by Kathy Sheldon Davis