I turned 61 last week and the first Whatsapp message I read was from my firstborn who, after wishing me a happy birthday, informed me that, since 61 is a prime number, I’m still in the prime of my life. What a happy message to set my eyes on first thing in the morning.
I don’t know about you, but I love birthdays, and I’m quite enjoying growing older because, with each swiftly passing year, the reality of the GOODNESS of God keeps getting more and more palpable.
It has to, otherwise how could we survive the vagaries of this crazy, upside-down world? And if that isn’t bad enough, the sudden and unwelcome onslaught of aches and pains which seem to think we’ve hung a ‘Welcome!’ placard around our neck can be pretty unsettling too.
Their obvious agenda is to derail our focus and faith from what’s really important to what’s inevitable. But Scripture assures us, ‘Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.’ 2 Corinthians 4:16
The renewal of our inner (wo)man can occur in many ways – through fasting, praying, Bible reading, etc. But the best is when we simply yield to the Holy Spirit’s loving ministrations and bask in the comforting embrace of His whispered promises, ‘I will be your God throughout your lifetime – until your hair is white with age. I made you and I will care for you. I will carry you along and save you.’ Isaiah 46:4
Flowers, gifts, scrumptious lunches, high teas, and the blitz of loving greetings on social media can delight our soul, but the real spiritual bonanza comes when timely promises and dreams are released by Abba through unexpected people; His personal love letters of affirmation, confirmation and onward direction which are the most precious birthday gifts of all.
God knows that coping with all the fast and furious changes over the years, in the natural and spiritual spheres, will take its toll on us.
Spirit-anointed prophetic promises ensure that we make the right decision and stay the course, just like the old prophetess Anna as she continued to serve God in His Temple, worshipping, fasting and praying way into her 80s until her faithfulness was finally rewarded with the arrival of Salvation.
However, there’s also the real possibility that we could entertain a prophetic word much like the matriarch Sarah, with incredulous and mirthful disbelief.
She silently scoffed at the proclamation that her dried-up, nonagenarian body would conceive a baby and begin a new dynasty. Am I also prone to laughing secretly when God shares some plans with big, old me? Note to self: God always has the last laugh.
And remember old Naomi? She changed her name to Mara due to the bitter experiences she claimed God had dumped on her. Yet she returned to the Land God had given her forefathers and became the link for the continuation of the Messiah’s bloodline through her grandson.
Naomi repented of her bitter attitude and, for her obedience, she received the blessing and promise of Adonai, “I will be to you a renewer of life and a sustainer of your old age.” Ruth 4:15
What’s most encouraging from the honest accounts of Sarah’s and Naomi’s lives is that their doubts and fears, sorrows and complaints, bouts of bitterness and rage did not disqualify them from being used strategically by the Lord. It was Adonai’s own grace and mercy that fulfilled His purpose for their lives.
What a comfort to know that God does not require us to be an aging Marvel-ous superhero (or heroine) to be useful to Him. That takes all performance pressure off us and places it squarely upon His grace.
God already knows there’ll be times when we’ll experience pain, sickness, depression, sorrow, despair, anger and all the other horrible outcomes of a fallen world.
He has already promised to uphold you with His hand so that even when you stumble, you’ll not fall; He has already promised not to forsake you in your old age or when your strength is spent; He has already promised that you’ll flourish and bear fruit.
So, how can you ever forget that He who promises is faithful?
I’ve already experienced the undeserved goodness of the Lord for 61 years, and I know I’ll continue to do so until He calls me home to Him. Hallelujah!