Our world fights aging. You see it in the commercials for anti-wrinkle cream, the billboards for botox, and the guy who is simply too old to be wearing jeans that tight. We are constantly looking for ways to look younger, feel younger, and act younger. I’m feeling that a bit acutely today because today is my birthday.
I’m different than I was five years ago. A little heavier. A little greyer. Maybe a little slower getting out of bed in the mornings. My younger son pointed out an age spot on my head the other day and asked, “What’s that thing?” That’s age, son. It’s age.
Even as Christians, we feel the reality of time taking its toll. And yet as Christians, we have the unique ability not to see aging as bad news:
Gray hair is a glorious crown; it is found in the ways of righteousness (Prov. 16:31).
Why might that be? Why can the Christian actually stand apart from a culture growing younger and not only embrace getting older but actually enjoy it? Here are four reasons:
1. We see our children developing their own personalities.
It’s always amazing to me to look at these three children God has blessed us with, all from the same mother and father, all having grown up in the same house with the same rules and the same expectations, and yet to see how dramatically different they are. Every year the Lord gives us to grow older is another year to see our own children come into their own unique personalities. That is a joyous thing.
2. We (finally) have a bit more perspective.
Oh, sure – there are still days when everything is the worst thing. But as time goes on, and you see more and more things happen in life and in the world, the Lord graces you with the ability to actually have a bit of perspective. Your temperament becomes a bit more even-keeled; you fly off the handle less and less. And, yes, you even have a bit more patience. This, too, is a better way to live.
3. We have the joy of investing in others.
A funny thing has happened recently to both my wife and I – we stopped being the young people in the church. And with that, we have had the opportunity to regularly meet with and walk alongside younger people than us. There is so much joy in this, having the chance to invest in other people. These opportunities increasingly come with age.
4. We are becoming more comfortable in our own skin.
I remember still the pressures of conformity from my teenage and young adult years. And I remember distinct moments of thinking to myself, Why am I here? I don’t even like this! But as you get older, you become more and more comfortable with who you are. And it’s a wonderful thing to be comfortable in your own skin.
There are good things about growing older, friends. Here, too, we have a chance to be salt and light. True enough, we might not move as quickly as we used to, but we can still embrace aging with a gospel-centered perspective. That means instead of fighting against it, we embrace the opportunities we have for the sake of the kingdom that uniquely come as one continues to grow older.