Thursday, October 8, 2009

Bearing Fruit in Your Old Age

I am 59 years of age and there are days when I physically feel every second of my years! Thanks to the wonders of modern medicine, I am still alive and in fairly good health. Medication helps my blood pressure remain "normal", my heart from going "a-fib", and my blood sugars close to where they should be. I am thankful God has granted wisdom to men and women who have developed such medicine.

Yet this year has yielded some evidence to my physical decline, evidence I have not seen in the past. My right eye was diagnosed with diabetic retinopathy essentially meaning diabetes is slowing destroying sight in that eye. Furthermore, two tears were found in that retina. A couple of laser treatments have repaired the tears and also assisted in reversing some of the retinopathy.

Also, while accompanying one of my daughters to her doctor's appointment, a dermitologist took more interest in me than in her. She recommended I set up my own appointment with her which I did. Her examination concluded I had some pre-cancerous skin cells on my right arm as well as on a portion of my face. She treated the right arm in the office but, given the extent of the damage she saw on my face, recommended I use a prescribed cream to treat that area. She told me to use the ointment twice a day for 3 weeks but not to begin until the weather was cooler, around October 1st. She forewarned me that the medicine would make my face "perfect" for Halloween!

Well, the treatments have begun and, after only one week, the bad cells are beginning to show up as dark spots on my face. My face has become sore and aches when I wash it. I discovered yesterday that shaving above my beard is so painful now that I will bypass that act until my skin has recovered from this treatment. Indeed, I am looking more and more like an ogre every day and still have two more weeks of applying this cream!

I say all of this to explain how all of this has made me feel quite old this week (plus my oldest child turned 36!). My reflexes are slow, my eyes ache, my face hurts, my joints experience pain with minimal use: I am a mess. How can the Lord continue to use such a servant?

My daily Scripture reading brought me to Psalm 92 today where I read:

"They (the righteous) still bear fruit in old age; they are ever full of sap and green, to declare that the Lord is upright; he is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in him" (Psalm 92:14-15, ESV).

Wow, what a great text! "They still bear fruit in old age". Well, I'm old and getting older every day. What a great promise to know that, despite my age and my aches and pains, I can still be fruitful in the work of our Lord. I can still declare the Lord is righteous. The Lord will still use me even with a face that might rival that of the Frankenstein monster!

The phrase "full of sap and green" bothered me a bit because I figured some family member or friend might read this blog entry and make some comment about me being "sappy". So, I checked out the passage in the Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB) and read this:

"They will stear bear fruit in old age, healthy and green, to declare: 'The Lord is just; He is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in Him.'"

In the midst of our ever increasing age, our mounting pains, and our reduced physical abilities, REJOICE in the promise that, in God's Kingdom, even the old bear fruit. They declare to everyone that crosses their path, whether by preaching, teaching, sharing, giving, singing, worshiping, or writing, "the Lord is just".

May Jesus be praised for not only redeeming us and providing the righteousness by which we are declared just before God, but for using us as His servants, even in our old age!

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