Today I’m writing to many of my readers who are older. You are the ones I actually write to. I just let everyone else listen in. You have lived most of your life by now. You don’t know how many years you have ahead of you, but you know it is less than the years you have lived so far.
You are most likely retired. You may volunteer at your church and/or at some location in your community. You may live near at least some of your grandchildren. You may even help care for them. Your spouse may be alive or you are widowed or divorced.. Some of you are or have been caregivers to elderly parents or a spouse. You may be like me and are helping your own spouse who is struggling.
Some of your lives haven’t had a lot of change, others have had many changes. Some of you manage the change you have had very well. Others are more like me. It takes awhile to settle into changes that come.
For some of you, you have lived a steady life that has been a picture of endurance all along. Your life has had order to it with not many changes and when you did have changes or moves, you adjusted easily and remained steady.
I was never one of those people. I know others of you are like me too. Every move we have made has involved a lot of change. Either it has been to a very different part of the country (with very few exceptions) or we moved overseas. I’m flexible, given enough time *smile*
Each time, the situation surrounding the church we moved to was quite different and it affected our family’s routine and lifestyle. It usually took me a year or two to get settled in and adjusted. For some reason, we seemed to settle in a little faster when the girls were home. I guess we got into school and the routine there just took over our lives. Between school and church, I worked in my “career” and other responsibilities.
Each place we moved, it took me a bit to figure out where I was needed and where I fit in. Often, I worked part-time and it took awhile to get that routine situated as well. I eventually found my way. but it often involved a spiritual upheaval of sorts. I often found myself learning new things about GOD and His ways, as well as new things about human relationships, with each new move.
This stage of life has been quite unique. The other times, I told myself, “Next time will be better or different (in a good way.)” This time I knew we were past the time of changes that would be improvements.
This stage of life has been another new adjustment. As usual, it has not been easy. Our first change came when we moved to a new community here in AL in 2013 where we didn’t know anyone except one daughter and her family. We gradually began to settle in but in 2015, Ron had a rather bad stroke that affected him, particularly in many areas of his judgement. When the reality of his deficits hit me during the year that followed, I was in a very dark place.
I always believed that GOD was sovereign over all the events of our lives. I knew He had a purpose for everything He allowed. But somehow, I had a very hard time coming to a place of accepting all the changes that came with this event. Of course, the former are largely intellectual and the latter is a matter of the heart. It takes awhile for the former to truly be part of the heart.
I needed to internalize my intellectual understanding of the Biblical teaching on hope. Who is GOD?
After some conversation with one of my pastors, I found some help. First, I needed to understand what hope is. I write about it often here.
Hope is confident expectation based on the person and promises of GOD.
As I have come to understand, not only in my head, but in my heart, who GOD is, my hope has grown. I believe the truth that He loves me, no matter what event comes into my life. I know in my gut, that His purposes for me are for my good. With time, this has become truer and my hope has become stronger.
I have been encouraged by a recent quote from Tim Keller’s book on prayer. It jarred me when I first heard it, but since then, it has been comforting.
GOD will either answer the prayer you ask or answer the prayer you would have asked if you knew what He knows. –Tim Keller
Understanding who GOD is gives me such a different perspective on events and problems that come along.
But it doesn’t stop there. We also need to understand His promises. We’ll talk more about that tomorrow.
Why do you say, O Jacob,
and speak, O Israel,
“My way is hidden from the Lord,
and my right is disregarded by my God”?
Have you not known? Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He does not faint or grow weary;
his understanding is unsearchable.
He gives power to the faint,
and to him who has no might he increases strength.
Even youths shall faint and be weary,
and young men shall fall exhausted;
but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength;
they shall mount up with wings like eagles;
they shall run and not be weary;
they shall walk and not faint.Isaiah 40:27-31 ESV