What does it mean to age well? God’s answers to this age-old question are timeless. Around 935 B.C., King Solomon wrote in chapter three of the Book of Ecclesiastes that there is a time, a season and a purpose for everything under heaven.
For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven. A time to be born and a time to die. A time to plant and a time to harvest. A time to kill and a time to heal. A time to tear down and a time to build up. A time to cry and a time to laugh. A time to grieve and a time to dance. A time to scatter stones and a time to gather stones. A time to embrace and a time to turn away. A time to search and a time to quit searching. A time to keep and a time to throw away. A time to tear and a time to mend. A time to be quiet and a time to speak. A time to love and a time to hate. A time for war and a time for peace.
What do people really get for all of their hard work? I have seen the burden that God has placed on us all. Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end. (Ecclesiastes 3:1-11 NLT)
Like a beautiful garden, God has planted eternity in the human heart, and it is from the depths of eternity that God sows the seeds of our lives and causes them to spring forth and bear fruit, in its own time and in its own season. There is a time to search, and a time to quit searching. There is a time to keep, and a time to throw away. A time to plant and a time to harvest. A time to heal. A time to build up. A time to rend and to mend. A time to cry, and a time to laugh; to grieve and to dance. God makes everything beautiful, according to its time. He gives us beauty for ashes and the oil of joy for mourning and in the end, He wipes away every tear from our eyes and yet, not a single tear is wasted, for God saves each of our precious tears in a bottle and records every cry in His great book. The garden in our hearts is watered by our tears, and the Eternal Gardener, apart from Whom we can do nothing, makes certain that the seed that is watered with tears does not return to us void, but brings forth an everlasting harvest, stored up forever for us, in the Vinedresser’s kingdom.
What does it mean to age well? Maybe it means to keep a vigil over our lives, to sit shiva with God over all that we’ve lost or that has been taken from us along the way. Perhaps it is to erase with a bold hand everything that the enemy of our souls would constantly use to divert our attention, and to finally believe, and speak, and declare over our lives, “It is finished!” To realize that God has removed every transgression as far from us as the east is from the west, through the atoning Blood of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, and that He restores even that which He did not take away.
To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under heaven. God makes all things new, and what was once stained scarlet, He washes as white as snow. Perhaps to age well is simply, finally, to yield. To abide. To, at last, enter in to His rest and find peace, and make peace, with whatever was in the past, and to let go of worry about whatever God has designed for our future. Perhaps after all is said and done, to age well is to have earned the wisdom to trust God with all of it: with yesterday, with today, and forever, releasing our lives to the One Who has subjected the same in hope, Who quickens us through the gift of His Holy Spirit. Who abides with us forever.
Those who sow with tears shall reap with songs of joy because our Father in heaven has given us this promise. I will be your God throughout your lifetime – until your hair is white with age. I made you, and I will care for you. I will carry you along and save you. (Isaiah 46:4 NLT)
Even now, we cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end. But when we look back at the scope of our lives, from the beginning until now we can see the hand of God moving us and shaping us, steadying us step by step along the way, and we know that when He comes, at last, we shall be like Him. He is the One Who knows and understands all of our temptations and our infirmities, and He is the One, the only One, Who will carry us, all the way home.
I pray all of God’s grace and peace over you and your families, in Jesus’ holy Name.