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We are blessed to have many trees and shrubs in our undeveloped back yard and sliding doors in our family room leading out to a balcony, offering us a lovely view of nature and wildlife.
Years ago, when I was laid up on the couch for weeks, ill with pneumonia, seeing a sparrow or other feathered friend scrounge for insects on the balcony would bring a smile to my tired face. I looked forward to daily visits from a baby squirrel, who always seemed to know when it was mealtime, and would tilt his head quizzically as if asking to share in our modest repast.
To this very day, we enjoy the serenity of viewing nature here during our morning devotionals, where we are constantly reminded of the beauty and variety of God’s creation (Psalm 19:1).
This year, as fall approached, the burnt orange blooms of the butterfly bushes and blue phlox in our front yard were no longer there to attract the zebrawings, swallowtails and occasional hummingbirds often seen in summer.
A perennial favorite in our back yard, located near the balcony, is a bright red hibiscus. In the summer, the blooms are lavish, open, and feather-edged, with yellow stamens, but now in fall these are past their prime, closed and tubular.
I was therefore surprised one recent morning to see a flurry of activity around these flowers. A solitary chickadee chattered excitedly as he seemed to sip nectar, drawing the attention of his mate, and then several more. A tiny brown hummingbird hovered near a separate bloom, then a female cardinal flew over to see what all the fuss was about.
After several minutes of what seemed to be a bountiful breakfast and social gathering, the birds dispersed.
Scripture tells us that God provides even for the sparrows (Luke 12:6-7), and here He abundantly provided for them with flowers that seemed way past their peak, even when their usual source of nectar was out of season. It reminded me that He will certainly supply our needs even more than those of the birds of the air, and that He can use us even when we are past our prime.
The Bible does not speak of retirement and is full of accounts of how God used aged people to accomplish his purposes. Among the great examples of faith (Hebrews 11), Abraham left his position of power in a pagan nation to set out for the Promised Land (Genesis 12:2-5) and then became the father of a great Godly nation through the birth of Isaac, when he and his wife Sarah were nearly a century old.
Elizabeth, aged and barren wife of the high priest Zachariah, gave birth to John the Baptist well past her childbearing years, just as God had promised (Luke 1). King David, a man after God’s heart who nonetheless fell prey to the egregious sins of lust, adultery, deceit and murder (2 Samuel 11-12), was still used by God shortly before his death, when he gave his son Solomon God’s instruction and priceless materials to build the temple (1 Kings 7:51).
Joshua, though “old and stricken in years,” knew that there was still much land for God’s people to possess, and God granted him his request to “possess that mountain” (Joshua 13:1; 14:11-12).
In all these instances, many might be tempted to ask, “Why did God wait so long?” His thoughts and ways are higher than ours (Isaiah 55:9), so we cannot be certain of the answer until we see Him face to face. But one reason might be to grow and strengthen us, preparing us spiritually and in other ways for the mission He has chosen for us.
Our church is blessed with many senior saints who, not content to slip quietly into retirement from God’s work, have instead possessed the mountain He set before them, with all its challenges and rewards, despite their advanced age.
Although I was not saved until well into adulthood, and have now retired from my former occupation, I am blessed and thankful that God still allows me to write, teach, sing to lyrics I have written and dance to His glory, using these ministries to share His Word. This is only possible through the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 3:16), for His strength is made perfect in my weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9).
Praise God that once we are saved by trusting in the death, burial and resurrection (1 Corinthians 15:1-4) of His Son Jesus as the only Way to Heaven (John 14:6), He will set before each of us a unique mission (Jeremiah 29:11). Our age and ability are irrelevant – what matters is only our faith and obedience to follow His Word. There are always younger, more beautiful, more capable people He could have used, but He chooses each of us!
May we be that last flower still in bloom, letting God use us to bless others as He sees fit!
Copyright Laurie Barclay 2023
|Photo by Laurie Collett 2023|