For Our Older Saints
In one of the great promises of the Old Testament, God assures his people, ‘even to your old age I am he, and to grey hairs I will carry you. I have made, and I will bear; I will carry and will save’ (Isa. 46:4). It is, in the first instance, a promise to the church as a whole. To the very last day of its life on earth; to the very hour of the Saviour’s return, the Lord will care for his church.
The promise has its application, however, to believers as individuals. The God who has cared for us from the beginning of our Christian lives will care for us to the end. We have a promise in this of God’s abiding presence, his constant and unchanging love, and his unalterable purpose to carry us through everything that we will encounter in the course of our journey to heaven.
In giving us this great promise God uses three small words that are too important to pass over quickly: ‘I am he’. ‘Even to your old age’, says the Lord, ‘I am he’. What does he mean? It is a declaration of unchangingness. The God whom he has always been is the God whom he remains – unchangeably the same throughout the whole of our relationship with him.
It is a very precious light in which to view this golden promise to care for us to the end. There is no change in God – either in himself or in his purposes for his people. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Because of that we can be sure both that he can care for us and will care for us to the end.
Think about what this means for his mind. My father was mentally sharp to the end of his days. Not so my mother. For the last few years of her life there was significant mental deterioration. Many of you have witnessed that in your own loved ones and you know how distressing it is. A number of us reading this will doubtless experience it ourselves.
Can you imagine how terrible it would be if God were subject to an ageing process like that? He has all the world to take care of. All the millions of his saints. What a catastrophe if he could begin to mentally slip! But there is not the remotest possibility. ‘I am he’, he declares. He is above all change and decay, his mental powers remaining eternally as full and vast as they have ever been.
Think about what it means for his eyesight. Advancing years for many bring impairment of vision. They have to give up driving. They can’t do the reading that they once did. But there is nothing like that with God! Psalm 34:15 tells us that the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous. He is watching over us all through the day, never pausing to slumber or sleep (Psa. 121). And always with perfect vision. To the end he will continue to see what is happening in our lives, right down to the finest details.
Think about what it means for his hearing. Psalm 34 speaks about God’s ears as well as his eyes, telling us that his ears are attentive to the cries of his people (verse 15). That Psalm was written three thousand years ago. Perhaps in the meantime God got has got a little hard of hearing. Impossible! His hearing is as sharp as it has always been. To the end of our journey we can be confident that God will hear our cries, even the silent cries of our hearts.
Think of what it means for his strength. Some of you can’t do the things you used to do. Strength inevitably diminishes with age. It’s one of the things that makes growing old so difficult. But God says, ‘I am he’. He simply is and is and is – unchangeably the same. God’s strength never diminishes. He will always be able to help, strengthen, deliver us, and bring his plans for us to fulfilment.
Think of what it means for his memory. It’s one of the most distressing features of the ageing process, isn’t it? – the failing of memory. But God’s memory does not fail. We may get to the stage where we have forgotten almost everything. He, by contrast, forgets nothing. No promise he has made. No believer whom he has loved. No detail of what he has planned for us.
‘I am he’. To old age and grey hairs we are in the care and keeping of an unchanging God. Can you think of a better place to be than that?
David Campbell is pastor of Grace Baptist Church, Carlisle, Pennsylvania.
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