Wednesday, January 27, 2016

When they come to take my car keys away

Curmudgeon: a person (especially an old man) who is easily annoyed or angered and who often complains. 

If you are familiar with Twitter, one of my favorite accounts is the Church Curmudgeon.  He is the quintessential grumpy old man, able to blend wit and complaint in 140 characters or less. As a parody, the Church Curmudgeon is very funny, but if this was real life? I think the humor would be quickly lost.

As I contemplate growing older, I often wonder, what will I be like in 20 or 30 years should the Lord tarry and He allows me to live that long? How will I respond to changes down the road? When they come to take my car keys away? When I have to turn my checkbook over to my daughter because I forget to pay the bills? When I can no longer live on my own? These are ordinary activities that I've taken for granted for decades, but when they are gone, I suspect it will hit hard. "I used to be able to do XYZ, and now it seems I can only sit and do nothing.", would be a natural response. It would also be very natural to take out my frustration at my lot on those around me, but is this inevitable as well? Am I destined to become a curmudgeoness? I don't think it has to be that way.

Now I want to be clear that sanctification is the work of the Holy Spirit in the life of the believer. I am not implying that aging well is something I must do to earn or keep my standing before God. I am accepted on the basis of Jesus Christ's substitutionary death for my sins and imputed righteousness alone. But as the Holy Spirit works, I believe He is able to change me and my desires. Even the desire to honor the Lord in the face of old age is His doing. So having said all that, here are three truths to gird my mind:

Remember who God is - I am changeable. God is unchanging. I do not know the future. He knows all things. I am weak. He is almighty. I am dependent on Him for every breath and heart beat. He holds all things together by the Word of His power. Nothing can thwart His purposes from being fulfilled, and my times are in His hands.

Remember where my identity lies - God has equipped His children with different strengths and abilities, but I cannot forget where my true identity lies. My being is not ultimately found in what I do or the gifts God has given. My being is found in who God has declared me to be - His image bearer, a redeemed sinner who has been made His child by grace. I may lose my skills. I may be less competent as time goes on, but I can never lose my identity in Christ.

Remember my final destination - We are on this side of eternity and reaping the effects of the fall, but it won't be like this forever. The new heaven and new earth are coming, and we will be forever with the Lord.

I don't think aging will be easy. Life hasn't been easy to this point. But God hasn't left me to finish my days on my own. The truth of who He is, what He has done, and the final consummation of His purpose lifts my eyes away from my finite existence to see the bigger picture. I believe the truth of the gospel has the power to change everything - right now and even when they come to take my car keys away.


  1. Oh so timely and so real. I believe we think this happens to our parents, our grandparents, and I see it in my patients, but we will never reach this point. It encourages me to prepare my heart now. Thanks!