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The Older I Get

The other day, an “elderly” woman was assaulted in a Houston parking lot. Later in the report, they told her age, and she was actually four years younger than me! UGH! How would they have referred to me? Ancient? Prehistoric?

Well, my aching back reminds me that senectitude is snapping at my heels. My doctor usually starts his report with, “At your age…” Even Google sends me targeted ads about unspeakable diseases and maladies once only whispered about in private medical reports.

While age-creep has many annoyances, there is a surprising side-effect for which I was not prepared. Since I was a little boy, I always knew what gifts I wanted for special occasions. In fact, I would produce detailed lists for my parents with color, sizes, and quantity. I would even rank them by “big want” and “little want.” And when in doubt, give money.

But at this age, I am often at a loss when someone asks, “what do you want for Christmas (birthday, Father’s Day, etc.)?” To be honest, I just don’t know. Actually, I’m in the stage of getting rid of stuff that has accumulated over the eons of my life. What would I do with more?

My needs have shifted from stuff to better health, more sleep, and peace and quiet. Now I know why Granny could stare out of the bedroom window all afternoon and be happy. Besides, asking for joint cream or a king-sized bottle of Ibuprofen just seems wrong.

Yes, this stage of life has produced many natural changes. But my spiritual life has changed, too. My prayers are less about me and more for others. With the raucous condition of the world, I fear for my children and grandchildren. And even then, it is so difficult to know how to pray.

Oh, I pray for health, protection, provision, wisdom, and favor. But, sometimes, my words just trail off and soon I am sitting before God in awkward silence. That’s when I wish I could predict things like dangerous weather, avoidable accidents, sickness, or hurtful disappointments. If I knew what was coming, I could pray better. If I just knew what God knows, I could be of more help for my loved ones.

The Lord reminded me of Romans 8:26-27 (ESV), “Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. And He who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.”

You see, God knew that there would be times when we do not know what we really need. That’s when we pray in the Spirit. Isn’t that amazing? God is so good.

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