Birthdays are normally not a big deal to me. I think that is largely due to the influence of my parents. Their philosophy was that a person is as young as they feel, so birthdays were just another day to them. So, to that end…
Turning 20 was cool.
I looked forward to turning 30 for as long as I can remember.
Turning 40 at the turn of the century was great.
I absolutely celebrated when I turned 50 (just ask my family).
But, for some reason, turning 55 has not been easy.
The Way It Works Out
Here’s the way it works out in my head:
55 is five years beyond 50.
55 is only five years away from 60.
Somehow it was different looking at 45 being five years beyond 40 and five years away from 50. While I certainly don’t consider myself old, I almost feel like I have hit the true middle age. And while it used to be kind of cute to joke about finally being able to select from the Senior’s menu at Smitty’s, now that I’m there it doesn’t seem so funny any more. I guess, in a sense, the whole thing leaves me wondering where I am and where I’m going.
What I Try to Remember
During this time there are a few things from the Biblical record that I try to bear in mind:
Noah was 500 years old when he started building the ark, and 600 when he entered the ark and saved the human race from annihilation.
Abraham as 75 years old when the Lord called him, and 100 years old when he experienced the fulfillment of God’s promise.
Moses was 80 years old when he led the children of Israel out of Egypt.
Joshua was around 80 when he lead the children of Israel to conquer the Promised Land.
Caleb was 85 when he finally got to conquer his mountain.
Besides these historic figures from the Bible, many of the men God has used in more recent history only began to make an impact in the later years of their lives.
There is another thing that I try to keep mindful of: Natural age is of little consequence in the Kingdom of God. As Paul wrote to the Corinthians,
16 So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. 17 For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, 18 as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal. 2 Corinthians 4:16 – 18 ESV
Even though our bodies may not look or function the way they once did, God is continually supplying spiritual power to us through the agency of His Holy Spirit. We are literally living by the Life of Another. And while we are living in this world that is characterized by corruption and decay, we look forward to a future in which all things will be made new in the New Heavens and New Earth.
I am so thankful that we have been born again to a living hope through the raising of our Lord Jesus from the dead (1 Peter 1:3 – 5). There is a new and better world coming. That is why I continually find my heart resonating with that ancient cry of the Church: “Even so, come, Lord Jesus!” I can hardly wait until the Day when we are all living in the Reign.