Encouraging Truths for Senior Living: Not All I Used to Be, But All I Ever Need to Be

Practical devotional thoughts written by Dan Jackson, Atherton Resident since 2016

Psalm 131:1 – O Lord, my heart is not lifted up; my eyes are not raised too high; I do not occupy myself with things too great and too marvelous for me.

Questions for reflection:

  • Is your focus on things behind that are no longer possible, or on things ahead that may be just as meaningful?

  • How can you cultivate contentment and confidence in your circumstances today?

Thought for today:
Perhaps I failed to notice this verse because I was not at the proper life-stage to appreciate or even agree with it. Until my mobility became so limited, I was all about the quest for new experiences, new places and nations, new learning and new discoveries. I saw myself like 85-year-old Caleb, pulling himself up to full height and claiming an inheritance in Canaan, declaring, “Give me this mountain!” (see Joshua 14:6ff). I could easily quote other verses that call us to look up and to aspire. These admonitions are proper in their time.

We change at each stage of life. We strive for independence in our adolescence. We launch careers and families in young and middle adulthood. Then the older we get, there’s a sense in which we become ever more childish. David speaks of being “calmed and quieted;” of becoming like “a weaned child with its mother” (Psalm 131:2). A toddler wants to be near his mother even as he explores the vast new world with his new mobility. Likewise, a faithful worshiper becomes content with God’s presence even as he wishes God would explain certain things.

I said all the right “holy” words as my health deteriorated, but deep down was a nagging question about how my individual story would continue to relate to God’s bigger story. God is the author, director, producer and star of his story and ours. For over fifty years my story was about preaching, speaking and teaching. In those areas, God gifted me. Embarrassed by my limitations in dress and certain personal issues, I felt my gifts would fall into disuse. God has shown me differently and I continue to have opportunities to share my gifting. I’m not all I used to be, but I can “accept the mystery of hardship, suffering, or misfortune” (Charles Swindoll). No longer do I have to understand it or explain it. I simply accept it. My heart is no longer “lifted up” in pride, nor are my eyes “raised too high” with ambition. When I seek to plumb “the secret things that belong to the Lord” (Deuteronomy 29:29), I will do so diligently. Otherwise, I will “not occupy myself with things too great and too marvelous for me.”

This day, be content and confident in the stage where you find yourself. We may not be all we used to be; but by God’s grace, we are all that we need to be to accomplish our tiny role in His amazing story.

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