When it comes to aging gracefully, there’s a million different pieces of advice out there. Some companies claim they can stop you from aging at all, at least physically: removing wrinkles, saggy skin, love lines, etc., through all sorts of miracles products, gels, and creams.
Of course, nothing stops Father Time, and while it can often shock and surprise us, our bodies will start to break down, our minds will wander more than they probably should, and we will start to wonder what the heck is this darn noise the kids are calling music today?
Case in point, over the last month or so, I started having increasing pain in my right elbow, which eventually spread to my right hand. Some motions, like picking up my kids, didn’t hurt at all, while some, such as lifting clothes out of the washing machine or turning a door knob, made me feel like someone was stabbing me with a butter knife.
Finally I relented to a trip to the doctor’s office, who diagnosed me with tennis elbow in the first 15 seconds of the visit. I don’t play tennis, so he chalked it up to the position of my arms and hands while I do my job – which is 99.9% writing at a computer (or two depending on how busy I am).
“But,” I sputtered in protest, “I’ve been using a computer to write for 20 years! This has never happened before!”
“Yes,” the doctor replied, “But now you’re getting older.”
As previously said, there are a million different pieces of advice out there on how to age without fear, doubt, or worry, but there’s one reference that has yet to fail me on any topic – The Bible.
Whether I’m seeking advice on marriage, parenthood, finances, or stress, The Bible has the answers, even if they’re not always easy ones. Perhaps the best things about turning to the Bible for advice is that it doesn’t beat around the bush, doesn’t try to sell you anything, and always gives you something to think about, so that in the future you can share what you’ve learned with others in need.
Here are a few of my favorite things the Bible has to say about aging, which give me comfort on those occasions when I try and figure out where my younger days went.
“A gray head is crown of glory; it is found in the way of righteousness.” – Prov. 16:31
Right off the bat, The Bible lets us know that growing old should be a point of pride, including the physical signs of it – i.e., gray hair. If you’ve lived long enough to start getting gray hairs – like the horrific ones that have appeared when my sideburns grow too long – you’re probably doing something right, and stayed away from the worst parts of life – drugs, crime, etc.
“If you walk in My ways, keeping My statues and commandments, as your father David walked, then I will prolong your days.” – 1 Kings 3:14
The secret to long life? It’s pretty much there in black and white – follow God’s word and his ways and he’ll prolong your days. You can take this as literally as you want to, but the word ‘moderation’ comes to mind most often for me – keep your vices to a minimum, or eliminate them all together, and practice good health and good habits, while being helpful, kind, and loving to everyone.
“Older men are to be temperate, dignified, sensible, sound in faith, in love, in perseverance. Older women likewise are to be reverent in their behavior, not malicious gossips nor enslaved to much wine, teaching what is good.” – Titus 2: 2-3
There’s not a one of us who wasn’t told “act your age” at least 100 times in childhood, and the same request holds true as we get older. The Bible preaches that the elders among us show the patience and dignity that a lifetime of experience has allowed them, and to teach the younger generations to do likewise.
“They will still yield fruit in old age; they shall be full of sap and very green.” – Psalms 92:14
One of my favorites, because it is a constant reminder that age really is just a number, nothing more. Some of the greatest accomplishments man has ever known came well after 50, well after 60, well after 70, and this Psalm is a terrific reminder that our lives are what we choose them to be and will be each and every day.
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