Heal me, O Lord, and I shall be healed; save me, and I shall be saved: for thou art my praise. Jeremiah 17:14
These last few weeks I have been laid up with the miseries of Shingles. This of course has left me scampering today, for an article of encouragement.
Now you may wonder how I could have found anything encouraging to impart while dealing with the pain and discomfort of this illness, but God in His wisdom and mercy has given me energy to get out of my armchair and tend to the gifts He has bestowed upon me.
I was encouraged through this “honing” time by prayers, reading, listening, and watching others who have worked through their own difficult times, along with encouragement from my family along with my church family, and my ‘spiritual daughter’, Debra.
Another such encouragement and comfort, came to me while reading this wonderful prayer from St. Augustine –
God of our life, there are days when the burdens we carry chafe our shoulders and weigh us down; when the road seems dreary and endless, the skies gray and threatening; when our lives have no music in them, and our hearts are lonely, and our souls have lost their courage.
Flood the path with light, run our eyes to where the skies are full of promise; tune our hearts to brave music; give us the sense of community with heroes and saints of every age; and so quicken our spirits that we may be able to encourage the souls of all who journey with us on the road of life, to Your honor and glory. Amen.
Yes the road is dreary, the skies gray, but more than that, they are threatening! And can you imagine life without music? I’m sure we have all experienced a lonely heart along with a soul that has lost the courage to go on, especially when we know of that heavenly city waiting for us the moment we leave this earth. But the best part, is Jesus just waiting to welcome us home with open arms!
However, St. Augustine does not leave us in despair while we are still here in this alien land, nor does Jesus. We are provided hope and answers and reasons for our present honing.
He turns his prayer to the only One who can provide us with the light for our path, brave hearts that bring us brave music of old like – “Onward Christian Soldiers”, and Scripture that describes it in…… 2 Timothy 2:3 – You therefore must endure hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. Up-to-date music and movies such as “I can only Imagine” which encourages the young and old working through the difficulties we face daily while we remain on this earth.
He goes on to tell us we have a community of saints and heroes encouraging us along on this earthly journey, helping us to continue to bring honor and glory to Jesus. He is the One who gave us the life we are living, and keeping our eyes on Him will get us through difficult times to our eternal life, in our real home in that city of gold.
I was also encouraged with an article by J. Oswald Sanders titled “I Am Weak, He Is Strong”, which helps all of us no matter if we are ‘over the hill’ or just ‘down in the valley’ stage of life. I hope it encourages you no matter your age, as it did for me.
“Old age, with all its acknowledged handicaps and limitations, can, however, open up new horizons of joyous possibility to us. The very realization of our own finiteness that comes with the gradual waning of our powers affords us the opportunity of proving in our own experience the validity of Paul’s paradoxical claim: “When I am weak, then am I strong” (2 Corinthians 12:10) We, too, can know the thrill of discovering that our inadequacy is complemented by God’s sufficiency ….
Here is an area of life in which the elderly can glorify God uniquely and find deep joy. Has He not caused it to be recorded that “God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty” (1 Corinthians 1:27)? He can still achieve His purpose even in the absence of human strength and resource.
We may feel that we are too weak and insignificant to achieve much for God at our time of life, but Paul assures us that He has chosen ‘nonentities” to do battle for Him. Our very weakness and dependence open the way for a greater display of His power and grace. Is it not a revolutionary thought that God is willing to use us, not in spite of our weakness, but actually because of it.”
Those in old age are still useful to God. Remember, He served the best wine last!