Some Thoughts About Getting Old

Grandma and grandpa graphics
 
By Pastor Bruce K. Oyen
      My theme is this: some thoughts about getting old. It is a Biblical theme, for the Bible often speaks of this subject. Consider a few examples of the Bible’s references to old age. In Psalm 37:25, the writer looked back on his life and said, “I have been young, and now am old.” In Psalm 71:9, the Psalm writer said these words in prayer to God, “Cast me not off in the time of old age; forsake me not when my strength faileth.” And Psalm 92:14 says this of the elderly who are following God: “they shall still bring forth fruit in old age.” This at least means they can be spiritually productive in old age, even if they cannot be physically active like they once were. My theme is also a practical one. It’s practical, because, unless we die at a younger age, we will get old. But what is “old”? In some ways, the answer to that question is a matter of perspective. Not long ago, I asked some elementary school kids how old they thought I am. One child said I am 20 years old. Another said I am 80. Another child said I am at least 100 years old. Well the fact is that, at the time of writing this post (May, 2014), I am 60 years old. For young kids, 60 is old. To someone who is 80, 60 seems young. To someone who is 100 years old, 60 seems very young.
     One thing I have consistently noticed about many elderly persons is that they often dwell on their aches and pains, and like to talk about them. Many of them are good at giving “organ recitals”. They recite what’s wrong with thier various organs. They tell us what’s wrong with their heart, their kidneys, their eyes, their ears, their bladder, and whatever other organ has problems. They also like to tell us how much their knees ache, and how much their hips hurt. One elderly man told me that has noticed that when he and his friends were younger, they talked about sports, family, and news items, but in their old age they talk about their ailments. Have you heard about the three old men, friends of one another, standing outside on a windy day? One man said it was windy. Another one said it was not Wednesday, but Thursday. The third man said he, too, was thirsty and wanted to go have coffee. So it sometimes goes with the elderly. 
    There is nothing wrong with the elderly being honest about their health problems. But the reason so much attention is given to them is the fact that the elderly have often have another problem that is a major reason they focus on what ails them. It is the lack of being involved in constructive activity. When we are not involved in constructive activity, our minds have time to dwell on health problems, sometimes real, sometimes imaginary. Constructive activity will not cure our health problems, but it will help us to focus on things that are positive.
     The best kind of constructive activity is that which gets us involved in helping others in some way. When we do things to help others with their needs, it not only helps them, but it also helps the person doing it. We can get a great deal of satisfaction from doing good to and for others.

This leads to another problem common to the elderly: not enough social interaction with others. This often is the result of health problems causing them to not be able to get around as easily in old age as in younger years. Sometimes this results in no longer being able to drive a car to stores, restaurants, social events, and the homes of family and friends. And if family and friends do not go to visit such persons, what happens? It leads to lives of social isolation and loneliness, which leads to depression and feelings of worthlessness.
Another problem common to the elderly is anxiety about what might happen to them. They wonder if they will have a stroke or a heart attack. They wonder if they will fall down and break a hip.They wonder if they will lose their minds. They wonder if they will end up in a nursing home, unable to care for themselves. They wonder if they will lose their spouse. Who can fault the elderly for being concerned about what might happen to them? It is human nature to be concerned about these things.
Something else common to the elderly is their loss of friends and loved ones. As they get old, so do others, and sooner or later death knocks on the door. As elderly persons begin to lose their friends and loved ones, it takes a tremendous toll on their emotions. They begin to feel more and more alone. And they know death might soon knock on their door. The common result? Depression.
Though many more things could be said about the problems the elderly struggle with, consider just one more: they often wonder about life after death. They wonder if there is a heaven and a hell. An elderly person often wonders how to make sure their soul will go to heaven when they die. They wonder if it is possible to be sure of it.
Well, the good news is this: the Bible is God’s infallible Word, and it very clearly tells us how we can make sure our soul will go to heaven, not hell, at death. You can learn this for yourself by reading, for example, the Gospel of John in the New Testament portion of the Bible. But you can also find out this important information by clicking on the following link. If you do so, read it carefully until you understand it, and then do what it says. You can settle the matter of where your soul will go when you die right now, wherever you are. It is a transaction that takes place between you and God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ and no one else. Here is the link to a short message that has helped thousands of persons get ready to go to heaven: http://www.godssimpleplan.org/gsps-english.html.

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