“As for man, his days are like grass, he flourishes like a flower of the field; the wind blows over it and it is gone, and its place remembers it no more. But from everlasting to everlasting the LORD’s love is with those who fear him, and his righteousness with their children’s children- with those who keep his covenant and remember to obey his precepts (Psalm 103:15-18).”
Life passes quickly. Suddenly, we wake up one day and most of it is gone. If and when we reach our 50s, we see that we can either move into old age as a lonely old person, or we can age gracefully.
I’ve seen both types. I know one man who left his family and chose to live alone. He spent a lot of time watching television.
I also recall a wonderful senior couple when I was a young man. They were about as gracious and outgoing as anyone could be.
When we are young, we are indestructible, so we think. However,Neil Young wrote a thoughtful song that expresses the truth about the fantasy of youth:
“Old man look at my life, I’m a lot like you were
Old man look at my life, I’m a lot like you were”
The young man sees the old one, and realizes that one day his youth will be lost.
“Old man look at my life Twenty four and there’s so much more
Live alone in a paradise That makes me think of two
Love lost, such a cost. Give me things that don’t get lost
Like a coin that won’t get tossed Rolling home to you”
Already this young man is beginning to see the pain of life. Things and loving relationships are lost. Can the old man help him?
“Old man take a look at my life, I’m a lot like you
I need someone to love me the whole day through
Ah, one look in my eyes and you can tell that’s true”
Whether we are old or young, we need love. You can see it in our eyes.
Somehow, deep in our hearts, we know we need love, and that is comes from God. Someone once said there is a God-shaped vaccum in each one of us waiting to be filled.
Nicodemus, a contemporary of Jesus, appeared to know this and went looking for answers. He came to Jesus one night and told Him that He seemed to have them. The story is found in John Chapter 3.
Jesus told the old guy something really strange: “You must be born again.” Nicodemus didn’t understand this and asked Jesus, “How can a man be born when he is old?” Nicodemus asked. “Surely he cannot enter a second time into his mother’s womb to be born!”
Jesus went on to explain to Nicodemus that He was not talking about a form of reincarnation. He explained to the old guy that he needed a spiritual rebirth.
Nicodemus asked,”How can this be?” In reply, Jesus made one of the most famous statements of all time: “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life (John 3:16).”
Jesus told Nicodemus of the need to come into the light from darkness. He told Nicodemus that people refused to do this because they loved evil more than good.
The wise man of Proverbs says to shun evil and fear and trust God. He tells us to reject our own understanding and gain some wisdom from the Lord.
If we do this, long life is waiting (Proverbs 3:5-7,13-16). Maybe it won’t be a long physical one, but it definitely will be one that lasts for eternity.
Painfully, it may take us a lifetime to learn these lessons. We may be like the old man in Neil Young’s song, discovering that we are lost and alone:
“I’ve been first and last. Look at how the time goes past.
But I’m all alone at last Rolling home to you.”
If this is true, we are at a crossroads. We can stay alone and be like the man shut up in his home with the tube blazing, or we can begin to blossom by coming to God.
The Psalmist makes the case for this: “Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers. But his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers (Psalm 1:1-3). ”
It may be late in the season, but we can still bear fruit. We have to let the pain of our loneliness drive us to God.
As baseball great and wit Yogi Berra once said,”It ain’t over ’till it’s over”. We still have a chance to have a life by fearing and loving God.