Life has a definite irony just in living! As time passes, we find ourselves becoming what we never intended to be! When I was young, I never, never considered the possibility some day I would be young no longer. Now, youth seems a dream, not a reality!

Recently I had specific reasons for recalling past times “when I was (or I did) …” Often when occasions for recalling come, it seems like a dream about times that never existed—“did I ever do that?” Now I marvel I ever had the energy for "tireless devotion." My mind feels young, but my body talks to me. “You plan to do what? Oh no, you are not!” Unfortunately, with increased frequency, my body "has the last word."

Why is this happening? There was a time when I changed as fast as my world changed. Yet, the world never stops changing. We do, but the world does not! In our youth "keeping up" was natural. Then came the day when "keeping up" required conscious effort. Then came the day when we realized we were not "keeping up." At first we were only "a little" behind. Inevitably the day comes when we know we are much behind!

For the wise, experience replaces exuberance with patience. When I was a young adult I wanted everything to happen now. With age, I realized a startling difference between "changes for the better" and "growth that produces development."

Increasingly I marvel at God’s patience:

  • About 2000 years between promising Abraham, “In you all nations of the earth shall be blessed” (Genesis 12:3) and sending Jesus to be the Christ?
  • A century after Jesus’ resurrection to convince believers that God loves all people—regardless of their past or background?
  • Delaying the return of Jesus Christ to provide more opportunity for people to repent (2 Peter 3:9)?

    Somewhere there is a balance between the youth’s exuberance and the fears of the older. As God’s people, we neither wish to discourage youth’s exuberance nor be controlled by the fears of advancing age. God uses youth’s exuberance! As we grow older, it is not our fears God wants—it is our patience. Even in aging, patience as surely reflects God’s purposes as does exuberance in our youth!

    May we never confuse exuberance with good or patience with discouragement! Dare have the faith and courage to be exuberant! Dare have the faith and courage to be patient! Let God Himself teach us both! He was both in providing us a Savior! May we be both in being His people!

    1 Timothy 4:7, 8 But have nothing to do with worldly fables fit only for old women. On the other hand, discipline yourself for the purpose of godliness; for bodily discipline is only of little profit, but godliness is profitable for all things, since it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.

    David Chadwell

    West-Ark Church of Christ, Fort Smith, AR
    Bulletin Article, 3 March 2005

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