When I get old

Ecclesiastes 12:1-8

On more than one occasion, people have told me something like, “Oh, just wait until you get older. You’ll slow down. You won’t be as ‘joyous’ as you are now.”

Now, I’m sure about the slower part. But I’ll never understand losing joy. Is that me being naïve?

Perhaps.

But I have two solid reasons for knowing I’ll be at least as joyful as I am today (and have been since becoming a Christian). I’m hopeful these two reminders will be a blessing to your joy. To begin with, the joy I talk about and pray for is God’s. Yes, truly, the joy of the Lord is my strength (Nehemiah 8:10). Joy is a part of God’s peace and healing. Yes, I’m happy to be alive. But God’s joy is a deep-rooted sense of contentment with God. It’s not mere happiness, which is often connected to circumstance. As such, I can see an older, even more joyful me.

Besides that, the second reason I know I’ll be an old joyful person is because of the many I’ve already known. Through their aches and pains they’ve been a joyful witness to me. As you would expect, their life experiences haven’t been easy or without deep pain. They’ve lost many friends and family members, but they know that is a part of living longer. And they know one day someone will have to say goodbye to them. That doesn’t seem to scare them. It’s almost a motivation to live in and to share the joy God gave them.

What a gift to offer those learning faith after you!

The teacher of Ecclesiastes has been quite dour. Yet, his final encouragement encapsulates what we’re talking about today. “Remember your creator in the days of your youth” (Ecclesiastes 12:1). “Getting old is not for the faint of heart,” is what people have told me also. The teacher would agree. In his older years, his encouragement is to look to the goodness and joy of God now.

So, let’s reflect on how we can set people up to experience God’s joy for their entire lives. That’s a way we can encourage and build each other up (1 Thessalonians 5:11). Life’s tough enough. We don’t need each other taking away any bits of joy we already have.

Stay blessed…john