As the years pile on, even if you have a very godly outlook on things, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. Life also became tougher for the apostle Paul the older he got, but he ran the race and finished it well.
You know what? As you get older, life gets harder!
Hi, I'm Joni Eareckson Tada and I just bet if you’re over 50 years old, you might agree from me. As the years pile on, it’s easier to get overwhelmed—with pain, with one disappointment after the next. And when it adds up, well, you can have a very godly outlook on things, but there may be a tiredness, a little wistfulness in your voice. If that’s you, you are in good company. Because life even got tougher for the apostle Paul the older he got.
When he was younger, the book of Acts records the golden days of Paul's ministry. It was no effort for him to be wide-awake at midnight in a jail cell, praying despite chains that chafed, bad food, and grouchy guards. It was no effort for Paul to sing praises to God at the top of his lungs. Scripture tells us the jail doors flew open wide and everyone's chains fell off. Prisoners applauded him and the jail keeper, saved instantly, invited him to his house. Things were looking up! And you hear this upbeat tone of voice throughout the book of Acts.
But if you then look closer at his last epistle, you see a softer side. Yes, Paul was in jail again when he wrote II Timothy. But this time there would be no miracle, no escape. Winter was approaching and Paul felt old and tired. Listen to what he writes in II Timothy, chapter 4. He says, “I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time has come for my departure. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, and I have kept the faith ... but do your best to come to me quickly, for Demas, because he loved this world, has deserted me and has gone to Thessalonica. Crescens has gone to Galatia, and Titus to Dalmatia. Only Luke is with me.”
There he was in jail, but this time he was feeling the bite of his chains. Deserted by his friends, he struggled against illness. His friend Trophimus was sick, yet Paul couldn't do a thing to heal his friend. He couldn't even heal himself! But the old apostle didn't allow discouraging circumstances to get him down. Yes, things were different than the "golden days of old," yet he hung on courageously to God.
And you know what? This could be your story. Some days you feel life is on the upswing, but other days it feels flat. Sometimes you sense the miracle in your life, other times life seems very ordinary. Are you energized today to meet a challenge head-on? Or do you feel tired and trapped? Life's circumstances can make you feel like a yo-yo, but don't allow the "ups and downs" to get you down, especially as you get older. Commit to God to fight the good fight, finish the race, keep the faith.
And to help you finish well, today’s the last day you can ask for the three booklets I'm offering on the subject of suffering. Hey, I'm in my 60’s and I'll be right up front, things are a lot tougher than they were in my earlier years of ministry. But I am taking cues from the apostle Paul. And if you need encouragement, go to my radio page today at joniandfriends.org and ask for those booklets on facing hardships head-on … perhaps you can give one or two to a friend who’s going through a rough time. It’s why I'm sending you three, so you can pass them on to those who need a fresh word of encouragement. Finally, friend, don’t allow older age or aches and pains to dampen your spirit. Never allow the ups and downs to ever get you down!
© Joni and Friends
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