2 Corinthians 4:16-18
“On the following day, when they came from Bethany, he was hungry. Seeing in the distance a fig tree in leaf, he went to see whether perhaps he would find anything on it. When he came to it, he found nothing but leaves, for it was not the season for figs. He said to it, “May no one ever eat fruit from you again.” And his disciples heard it.
I literally laughed out loud when I read that I would be doing a devotional on aging! Was I picked to do this one for a reason? Again, I laughed! My favorite aging verse is from 1 Corinthians 13:11 that says; “When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child: but when I grew up I put away childish things.” But as a daycare teacher of 40 years my reply was; “No, I didn’t. Childish ways were my favorite ways.”
In this week’s message, Pastor Rhonda gave us so much more to contemplate. Most important for me was the thought that as we age, our faith (thankfully) ages as well. That if we nurture our faith it becomes stronger and more intense. We can experience a hunger to dig deeper into our faith. We are reminded of the eternal promises that change the makeup of our souls, help us appreciate the time and desire time with those we love “to the moon and back”.
That other parts of our lives are continually changing as well. That conflict, over time, can hurt our hearts, like her comparison of a mother-daughter relationship that tore at the fiber of their relationship over time. Hurting both people, even as neither party was willing to budge. Holding on to that hurt and desiring to end the hurt is often part of the hurt. The most difficult part is often merely accepting each other for who they are. For me, that spoke volumes as to hurt in others around me. A neighbor of mine still holds a grudge against me because when I was little, I accidentally ran into the back of his heal with my skateboard! Can you believe it? Yet he refuses to wave at me or acknowledge my presence or speak to me. That is a grudge!
What can we do about the aging process? Not much! But the choice is a big part of the aging process. Not just changing our eating habits (the hardest for me with diabetes – desserts literally call to me!), or the body’s desire to exercise (not so much really, but that’s just me). But the choice to let go of those hurts. To slow down, know value when we see it in others, accepting ourselves and yes even our limitations. Maybe most importantly to share the wisdom that God brings to us. If God sends you a blessing, share it! If he leads us to see someone hurting, share what He does for you, encourage them. Just be there for them. Listen…a quality we can teach, even to those glued to a phone.
I don’t claim to have all the answers, and as I try to navigate this process, I find I learn something new every day. I learn that some things will never change, accept that, and move on. Be the best example of a Christian adult we can display and remember someone is always watching from children and grandchildren to strangers you meet. Continue a process of nurturing our faith, and rely on the lessons He brings us daily.
Precious Heavenly Father, Thank you for this day and the experiences you bring my way. Help me to learn from them, be enriched by them and desire to serve you with this in mind. Let Christ be seen in me today! Amen.
Written by Fran Baatz
Fran is happily married with two daughters, and now four grandchildren and one great-granddaughter! She was an army brat growing up (which means she moved a bit) and her parents (Francis and Orpha Jimenez) were charter members of Sheridan Lutheran Church. She was also the first girl baptized in the church in 1953, so she has been at Sheridan a long time.