The autumn of our years!
Even when I am old and grey, do not forsake me, my God, till I declare your power to the next generation, your mighty acts to all who are to come.
Psalm 71:18 (NIVUK)
The poet Keats informs us that Autumn is the ‘season of mists and mellow fruitfulness’ in his poem, To Autumn.
It’s a fact that the autumn of our years is a bit sneaky – suddenly, it seems that we too have reached that time of life when youth has flown and we begin to feel the years. Perhaps you have noticed that too?
I wonder how God looks on us when our youthful energy is spent and this old guy stares back at us from the mirror? Will he desert us? Will he listen to us less when we pray? Are his thoughts ‘Well, It’s just old Cliff’? – No!
His promise to us is to always be there, to never leave or abandon us or brush us aside as something to ignore. Isn’t that wonderful? We are not relegated to the dustbin. In fact, he honours the grey head and tells others to do the same, notice: ‘Grey hair is a crown of splendour; it is attained in the way of righteousness.’ (Proverbs 16:31). And in the book of Leviticus, God tells Moses: ‘You shall rise before the gray headed and honor the presence of an old man, and fear your God: I am the Lord.’ (Leviticus 19:32 NKJV).
It seems like our God has a soft spot for those whose vigour has, by the passage of time, diminished. So take heart all of you who have reached this pinnacle of honour before the Father: we have much to be thankful for. Let’s use our maturity and the wisdom gained through life to contribute to the lives of others who one day will also be crowned with a hoary head.
And now a final blessing from the Father of Lights who tells us: ‘Even to your old age and grey hairs I am he, I am he who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you…’ (Isaiah 46:4 NIVUK). I hope that you will read this with thankfulness in your heart to our amazing Father who cares about us from the cradle to the grave; the one who understands our frustration at times. I’m sure that the bottom line must be: let’s think about ourselves in the same way our Father does – with honour and joy!
Tender Father, please accept our grateful thanks that you have held us close all these years, and never let us go! Amen.
Study by Cliff Neill
About the writer:
Cliff Neill is a minister in the Hemel Hempstead congregation of Grace Communion International, where he is on the leadership team.
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