“I will be your God throughout your lifetime – until your hair is white with age.”
Isaiah 46:4 NLT
Recently I fell over in the kitchen. It was one of those slow motion, slightly comical falls. I overbalanced seeking to put some food in the dog dish. Aware of my direction of travel backwards, I failed to find the strength to compensate for the force of gravity dragging me down. Because I fought against the fall, I strained my back and hurt my arm. Realising I wasn’t going to stop myself, I called out “help me” and Jayne arrived to see me stretched out on my back between the tall kitchen bin and the washing machine.
Now, I wasn’t hurt but, for the first time I can recall, I became conscious of my age. I lacked the strength to correct my fall. Slightly hurt, I was more distraught as I confronted a future of declining strength and mobility. It was an unusual and unwelcome feeling and it stayed with me. Yet, God is very encouraging when it comes to ageing. By encouraging, while the rest of the world seems to move on leaving me and the elderly in its wake, God hangs around and his commitment doesn’t waver.
Learning to accept ageing is the primary challenge. At least I’ve recognised its reality, which is a significant first step on the journey. Self-knowledge and self-acceptance are critical in deepening any friendship with God. Honesty creates the platform for facing up to personal anxieties. Can I trust God with my physical future? When I fail to manage, will God really take care of me? These are critical questions of faith. And I ask myself, how faith-filled am I?
The only reassurance we have is God’s promise, highlighted here in Isaiah. It’s an oft-repeated scriptural promise, and now I have to entrust my future together with its anticipated physical decline into God’s safekeeping. It is the clearest evidence I have to date that I cannot future-proof myself. Best continue to seek a deeper friendship with God as my best hope in navigating ageing.