All the years

2 Corinthians 4:16-18

I’ve long held an image of my father-in-law in my mind. It’s ingrained in my faith, actually. At the time, he was in his mid-eighties. I passed by his room and saw him sitting in his chair. He was reading the Bible. His eyesight, of course, wasn’t what it used to be. So, he used a magnifying glass.

He was a retired pastor, having served the church his entire adult life. When I walked by I couldn’t resist the temptation. “Dad,” I began, “haven’t you figured out all that Bible stuff already?” He laughed and told me I’ll never figure it out.

That day came before I began my pastoral ministry. And it has inspired it ever since. I want to be the eighty-year-old reading the Bible. By then, I will have given the church my adult life, too. I’ll have spent decades reading the Bible and sharing its wisdom. Who knows how many daily devotionals or text messages I will have written by then? But I trust God will humble me enough to know, even after all that time, I still need to sit in my chair and read the Bible.

Our outer nature wastes away. That’s comes with living longer. It isn’t shameful or something we should hide. God’s design isn’t for our outer nature to preserve itself or grow younger. The Lord does renew our inner nature, though! With every passing day, our hope grows and our faith strengthens.

Our fear is that our suffering keeps us from God. It does not. We might wonder if the evil of the world is a sign God is not with us. It is not. As the Christmas hymn reminds us: the hopes and fears of all the years are met in thee tonight. In Christ, God meets us in our hopes and fears.

So, while all may seem to be wasting away on the outside, God renews our heart and soul. As we seek God’s presence all the more, we become the examples those after us see and remember and follow.

Stay blessed…john

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John Fletcher

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