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Even when I am old

I don’t like getting old. My body doesn’t heal as quickly as it used to, and some things don’t heal at all. I seem to have less energy and I am genuinely shocked every time I realise what my biological age actually is. How did that happen? Where did the years go?

But it doesn’t mean life is over and I am encouraged by promises of Scripture that speak to the autumn and closing years.

The writer of Psalm 92 is full of praise to God. When we read it, we get the impression that he has long made it his habit to “declare your steadfast love in the morning and your faithfulness by night” (v 2). I imagine a face lined by many adventures, in prayer once more recalling, with thanks and joy, his own stories of God’s faithfulness: “you, O Lord, have made me glad by your work” (v 4); “my eyes have seen the downfall of my enemies” (11).

I don’t know if it is an elderly man who has written this psalm, but he is certainly in awe of a God who causes people lives to strengthen and expand with the passing of time, like a tree reaching maturity. Those who were “planted in the house of the Lord; they flourish in the courts of our God” (v 13). “They still bear fruit in old age; they are ever full of sap and green” (v 14)

Those who plant themselves in the house of God, and remain there through seasons of abundance and fallow, celebration and sadness, will still be used by God, even when their bodies are deteriorating, to bring life, beauty and refreshing fruit to those around them.

That’s the promise I hear in this verse and that is the psalmist’s same hope and prayer in Psalm 71, “Do not cast me off in the time of old age; forsake me not when my strength is spent” (v 9). The author has journeyed through life with his God, and he recalls, even from birth, God’s faithfulness to Him:

“For you have been my hope, Sovereign Lord,
my confidence since my youth.
From birth I have relied on you;
you brought me forth from my mother’s womb.
I will ever praise you” (v 2 – 3).

He marvels at what he has become – a “portent to many” (v 7). That is something quite wonderful, a ‘prodigy of goodness’ as somebody once put it. He is amazed at God’s grace over the years that he now lives in the good of.

And after praying that God will not forsake him in his latter years, he declares his certain hope that God will, indeed, honour his prayer. The psalmist’s God will continue to bring him through the challenges of life and bear fruit through him, even in old age:

“Your righteousness, God, reaches to the heavens,
you who have done great things.
Who is like you, God?
Though you have made me see troubles,
many and bitter,
you will restore my life again;
from the depths of the earth
you will again bring me up.
You will increase my honour
and comfort me once more” (v 20 – 21)

Suggested prayer: Whatever age you are, pray for God’s help to be faithful and steadfast in serving him throughout your life. Pray to be fruitful, even in old age. Pray for those around you who are in their senior years for God to continue to reveal to them His purposes for them.