With a firm grip on 45 years, I would not be considered “old” by most, except perhaps by my kids and their peers. But I’m certainly not young anymore, and my body continually finds ways to remind me of the fact. Over the last few years, I’ve grown more reflective than when I was younger and I think that it is more than just middle-aged melancholy. I have realized a few things. Growing old means experiencing loss; loss of loved ones; loss of health; loss of youthful vanity. Live long enough and we will all experience these things. We go through financial hardships. We grieve at the death of a parent. We taste the bittersweet joy of children moving into adulthood. We realize that we are not guaranteed tomorrow, and life may not always be like we have known it or expected it to be. This is why the Psalms are so much more appreciated by those who have lived for a while.
D.A. Carson states in his book The God Who is There, “Those of you who have been Christians for some time or who have gotten to know some elderly believers have discovered that elderly Christians are usually the ones who love the book of Psalms. Not a lot of people know the book of Psalms well at twenty-five. This is because the book of Psalms resonates with people who have had a lot of experiences. You have to have quite a lot of different experiences under your belt before you resonate easily with a lot of the things that are said in the book of Psalms: lament, loss, shame, death, triumph, the exaltation of informed and godly God-centered praise, and prophecy anticipating what is still to come.”
Psalm 90 begins with the declaration, “Lord, you have been our dwelling place in all generations. Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever you had formed the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God.” Then in the middle of the psalm, Moses states a refrain that often comes to my mind (especially on birthdays), “So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom.” Age and wisdom do not always go together. Aging without a biblical perspective on the peaks and valleys of life, a young fool simply becomes an old fool, of which there is none like.
As I’ve thought about these things and meditated on Scriptures like Psalm 90, I’ve found three truths of encouragement. First, God is sovereign. No matter what life looks like, He is in control, He is all-powerful, and He is good. The second is the inestimable grace of God. While deserving nothing but the wrath of God, he has lavished his love and grace upon me in ways too numerous to count. Third, this life is not all there is. In this life we experience great joys, and great sorrows. We live in a world that still reflects some of the beauty, and glory of its creator, but one that has also been spoiled by the cancer of sin, and death through sin. But a day is coming, when all things will be made new.