February 10, 2020
Growing Old Gracefully
Now also when I am old and greyheaded, O God, forsake me not; until I have shewed thy strength unto this generation, and thy power to every one that is to come. – Psalm 71:18
Recently, I was given a book in which the author commented about an older person who seemed to have an opinion about everything. While that comment may have been made in jest, it stuck with me and made me want to be the opposite of that!
We may chuckle when we think about people who seem more opinionated and more outspoken with every year that passes, but is that really the legacy we want to leave? Do those qualities make us more useful to God? Just as it takes effort to be an encouragement and a blessing to others when we are young, it will also take effort to grow old gracefully and continue encouraging others. We hold our elders in high regard because they have much experience in the Gospel and wisdom that can help those who are younger. We can choose to impart that wisdom in effective ways!
Our focus verse is part of a prayer by David that we can make our own. Note that the Psalmist requested God’s help so that he could show His power to the generations that follow. There is a reason we want to grow old gracefully: so that younger generations can observe the gracefulness in our lives which speaks of God’s power at work in us.
Here is another useful prayer I found in my library:
Lord, thou knowest better than I know, that I am growing older, and some day will be old.
Keep me from getting talkative, and particularly from the fatal habit of thinking I must say something on every subject and every occasion.
Release me from craving to try to straighten out everybody’s affairs.
Make me thoughtful but not moody, helpful but not bossy. With my vast store of wisdom it seems a pity not to use it all, but thou knowest, Lord, that I want a few friends at the end of life.
Keep my mind free from the recital of endless details. Give me wings to get to the point.
Seal my lips on aches and pains. They are increasing and my love for rehearsing them is growing sweeter as the years go by.
I ask grace enough to listen to the tales of others’ pain. Help me endure them patiently.
Teach me the glorious lesson that occasionally it is possible that I may be mistaken.
Help me to exact all possible fun out of life. There are so many funny things around us, and I do not want to miss any of them.