It seems almost every day in the clinic someone recites to me that familiar line, “Don’t get old!” I usually respond that there are two choices: grow old, or die young!
I understand. People say that because their bodies aren’t working the way they used to.
They’re in pain, or they are prevented from doing some of the things they love to do. Sometimes they are referring to other events taking place in their lives, like losing their friends to death, or having to take care of an ailing spouse instead of enjoying retirement.
We weren’t meant to grow old and deteriorate. The Bible teaches we were made to live in fellowship with God, but man chose to leave that fellowship. He chose to disobey the One who made him. Man’s disobedience put a stain on the entire world, and cursed creation to be prone to decay and deterioration. No one can escape this cycle while here on earth. We all feel it.
Yet God made a provision for us. He sent His son, Jesus Christ, to erase the stain of disobedience and decay. Jesus died to pay for our disobedience, and is preparing a place for us in heaven where we can live forever without worry of “getting old.” He said, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?” Powerful words, words of hope, and a future.
The deterioration and pain we experience in this world is a reminder that we are not yet in our permanent home, with God, as we were created to be. If this world were perfect, would we long for the next? If we never experienced pain, and if we didn’t get old, would we ever want to leave? Pain now serves purpose. It makes us long for home. It makes sweet the promise of seeing our Savior at the end of this life. It erases the fear of dying, and renews our faith in what life was meant to be. I believe we can live with hope. Hope of our eternal home, which overshadows the physical and emotional pain of this life.
This fact is well expressed in a poem I came across by Dora Johnson.
You tell me I’m getting old, I tell you not so;
The “house” I live in is worn out–and, that, of course, I know,
It’s been in use a long, long while, it’s weathered many a gale;
I’m really not surprised you think it’s getting somewhat frail.
The color’s changing on the roof, the window’s getting dim,
The wall’s a bit transparent, and looking rather trim.
The fountain’s not so steady as once it used to be.
My house is getting shaky, but my house isn’t me!
My few short years can’t make me old–I feel I’m in my youth;
Eternity lies just ahead, a life of joy and truth,
I’m going to live forever there; life will go on–it’s grand!
You tell me I’m getting old? You just don’t understand!
The dweller in my little house is bright and young and gay.
Just starting out on a life to last throughout eternal day.
You only see the outside, which is all that most folks see.
You tell me I’m getting old? You’ve mixed my house with me!