Growing Old Gracefully

I ask this of you, especially if you are among the elderly: As you look back over your life, are you aware of the blessing of God? Can you count the blessings? I wonder if you can say, ‘God was true to his word at every step. I did not understand much when I first made a commitment to him. But God understood, and God was faithful. God has blessed me so that now, in the latter years of my life, I can look back and say that God is good.’

If you want a secret for growing old gracefully, I suppose there is nothing more to the point than that. I have known all kinds of old people, and I know that there are some who are perfectly miserable, and there are others who are perfectly delightful. The difference is in their relationship to God. Some look back over their life and are filled with bitterness. They say, ‘So-and-so mistreated me’ and ‘When I almost had an opportunity to get something I really wanted, so-and-so took it away from me…I can never forgive so-and-so.’ There are people like that. But there are also people for whom the past is past. They do not worry about the slights of life. They are preoccupied with God’s goodness – how God blessed the family, how so-and-so became a Christian after much prayer, how God taught a great lesson in that particularly distressful situation. People like that are filled with joy.

What kind of old person are you going to be (or are you)? Are your sunset years going to be years of bitterness, or are they going to be a prelude to that glorious light of eternity? The difference will be found in what you think about your past blessings.

~ James Montgomery Boice Genesis: A New Beginning

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