From LIVING WITH PURPOSE IN A WORN-OUT BODY: Spiritual Encouragement for Older Adults; © 2008 Missy Buchanan, Upper Room Books, available at www.upperroom.org
‘Just here.’ That’s how I feel today. I’m just here. Stalled out. Little more than taking up space. It seems I’m just marking time until you are ready to take me home, God. Going through the motions of living without really being alive. Marching in the same place over and over, day after day. Going nowhere. Just here. Lord, help me wrestle with this sluggish depression. Sweep away my gloomy spirit. Change the way I see life. Let me find the tiny ray of sunlight that pierces the darkest clouds. I will glorify you one day at a time, one hour at a time. Blessed be the name of the Lord who lifts me from the abyss of ‘Just Here.’ (p. 47)
Sometimes I wonder if long life is really a gift. Bone-tired and weak, I can’t even open a jar of jelly. I feel so useless. Then I begin to think of the many blessings long life has provided. I have watched children and grandchildren grow from chubby-cheeked toddlers to remarkable adults. Tears of joy have filled my eyes at countless graduations and weddings. My life has been chockful of Christmas mornings and summer vacations. These are the special gifts of a long life. Tender memories that make me rich beyond measure. It’s true I have known heights and depths, both joy and heartache. But through it all, you have been faithful. May the footprints I leave behind my long life guide others to you. I accept today as yet another gift. I will open it with a grateful heart knowing I have purpose in this day. To thine be the glory! (p. 61)
Homesick at ninety-two? Being homesick makes sense for a seven-year old child leaving for camp. But I am very old. Why am I so restless for home? I believe it’s because you made me that way, God. You created me with an earthly body but a heavenly spirit that yearns to be with you. This world is not my home. Not really. I can recall every nook and cranny of the old home place. It’s where I raised my family and stood at the kitchen sink. Those vivid memories bring comfort and joy. But as wonderful as it was, heaven is better. You promise it is beyond my imagination, a place where pain and worry do not exist. On some days I wonder how much longer, God. It seems I’m taking the long way home. But it’s been quite a journey… And it’s not over yet. Let there be praise on my lips and worship in my heart. (p. 88)
When you get to be my age, you’re supposed to have it all figured out, or at least that’s what I used to think. I don’t think that anymore. There are moments when I believe and doubt at the same time. I suppose some of us old folks are just too proud to admit we have doubts, especially about the hard questions of life. Why do innocent babies die and wicked people get rich? If you love me so much, why have you brought me to this painful season? There were times in my life when I thought you would work in a certain way, but you didn’t. A loved one was not cured. A career was never realized. A dream was not fulfilled. Sometimes I hear people spew all the right answers about you, but they frighten me more than occasional doubts. O Lord, give me authentic faith. Real, nitty-gritty faith for moments when I doubt. I believe. Help thou my unbelief. (p. 90)
They say every good story must have a beginning, a middle, and an end… For my own life story, the beginning and middle were written years ago, but not the final chapters. So far, it’s been an interesting story with twist and turns in the plot. And if I look carefully, I see evidence of your faithfulness written on every page. Lord, I still don’t know how the last few paragraphs will unfold. I’m not sure when I will draw my final breath. But I do know for certain, the story won’t end there. Your promise of eternal life gives real meaning to the fairy-tale ending: “And they lived happily ever after.” (p. 69)
Psalm 42:11 — Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.
Philippians 1:3-6 — I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.
I Corinthians 2:9 — However, as it is written: “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him”
Abide with us, O Lord, for it is toward evening, and the day is far spent. Abide with us, for the days are hastening on, and we hasten with them, and our life is short and transient as a dream. Abide with us, for we are weak and helpless, and if thou abide not with us, we perish by the way. Abide with us, until the morning light of our resurrection day, when we shall abide forever with thee. Amen. –James Burns