I happened to run across the Miss USA pageant Sunday night. It didn’t help that I had just returned from my evening walk, tired, hot and nowhere close to attractive. I’m doing “two-a-days” right now because Craig’s wedding is in two weeks and those pictures will last a lifetime. Ice cream has been designated a sin in my home, but just for two weeks. As the sweat rolls down my face, the size 2 contestants waltz across my television screen in lovely beaded gowns and bikinis. Of course the “contest” isn’t about their small waists, white teeth, and implants. The real competition concerns their “answers” to those deep questions, crafted to reveal how these women would solve the world’s issues and problems. Forget Obama and Romney, we should put Miss USA in the Oval Office because that would certainly bring about world peace! (At least in between hair appointments and manicures.) Well, it’s time to move on now. I’m afraid my advanced years has caused some envy and bitterness to emerge. I’m about to marry off my youngest child, which ushers me solidly into the “next stage” of life. I don’t think I’m aging as gracefully as I should. I’m watching the Miss USA pageant and I should be tuning in to the reruns of The Golden Girls. So to cheer myself up I have decided to see what the Bible says about aging. In this culture of manufactured beauty, I’m hoping God will offer encouragement about the value of experience and the wisdom that comes with age. Here is what Scripture says about growing old:
1. 2 Corinthians 4:16: “Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.” That verse should make me feel better, but right now, it doesn’t! On to the next . . .
2. Psalm 71:18: “Even when I am old and gray, do not forsake me, my God, till I declare your power to the next generation, your mighty acts to all who are to come.” I like that! There is great value in knowing God and sharing him with those who are younger and less “gray.”
3. Titus 2:3: “Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good.” OK….I take back that whole “implant” remark above.
4. Proverbs 16:31: “Gray hair is a crown of splendor; it is attained in the way of righteousness.” Or in my case, brown hair is the crown of a spender; it is attained in the way of saloness. (Def: an expensive afternoon spent with tin foil, hair dye and dryers.)
5. Isaiah 46:4: “Even to your old age and gray hairs I am he, I am he who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you.” And isn’t that all that really matters! God has been with me from my youth and he continues to bless me with his Presence still. One of the few constants in this life is the indwelling presence of God’s Spirit. Young or old, you are God’s child and he loves you. That knowledge puts everything else in its proper perspective.
Miss Rhode Island, Olivia Culpo, received the crown Sunday night. She is young, beautiful and I hope she knows the One who created her. If not, I hope she will be blessed to know someone who will “declare God’s power and mighty acts.” All of us should work hard to wear our age gracefully, anxious to share all that God has done in our lives, and teach what is good to those we encounter. “Let us not lose heart.” Everyday we “waste away” – is one day closer to perfection!