Be Careful What You Ask For

When talking with a group of 8-12 year olds, I asked them to draw what they thought I would look like in 70 years. As the piece of paper passed from one kid to the next, I began to get suspicious as the giggling escalated; one young boy would take the pencil in hand and feverishly scratch away a face, then a girl would deliberately, slowly and ever so carefully add hair pins and ears, and, ah - a guy got it again - he valiantly swept long, dramatic lines where they were needed and, looking pleased, passed it down to the next expectant kid. After more giggling and whispering, they looked at me and then at their drawing, and then at me again. Laughter burst out at an unprecedented volume showing their gleeful satisfaction, and at last, I got to see the drawing.

That's right, this lovely little lady is me. In 70 years, that is. Check out the giraffe neck, monkey ears and chicken fingers. I got it all, baby!

So why did we do this, you ask? Good question. Not many people I know look forward to growing old. In fact, it's generally seen as an undesirable thing, which is understandable. However, there are attributes to growing older that are simply priceless, and cannot, in the same way, be owned by anyone younger. God treasures particular things in older men and women and has selectively chosen just such a people to accomplish unique tasks for His glory.

For example, you think 88 is kind of old? Well, don't forget Noah was 600 years old when the flood started (Genesis 7:6), between 500 and 600 years old when God told him to build the ark. Moses was 80 years old when God called him back to Egypt to START leading the children of Israel out of Egypt and into the promised land (Exodus 7:7). Anna, who was somewhere between the ages of 84-105, was a Jewish prophetess who prophesied about Jesus at the Temple of Jerusalem, speaking of Him to anyone who looked for redemption and serving the Lord in fastings and prayer night and day (Luke 2:36-38).

God may not call us to build an ark or save a nation, but what He lays before us may seem just as daunting when obedience requires self-denial, sacrifice, or persecution. The kind of character that God looks for in the life of a man or woman remains the same, and is just as attainable today as it was in Bible times. Look at the lives of Noah, Moses, Anna and others the Lord chose to use in their old age, such as Daniel. What does God esteem? When the eyes of the Lord ran to and fro throughout the whole earth, what did He see in these lives that He deemed worthy of showing Himself strong in their behalf? Was the feebleness of old age or the lack of outward beauty a problem for God? Obviously not. God loves choosing people we wouldn't choose. He takes the weakest, the smallest, the meekest (Numbers 12:3). He chooses the faithful, the dependent. Why? Because He gets the glory. The more unlikely the man, the more light is shed on God's empowering grace.

And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.
II Corinthians 12:9-10

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