November 22, 2018
“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.” Isaiah 46:4 (NIV)
Old age has its infirmities and dangers, but if it be pious old age, also the most comforting promise of Psalm 92, "Those that be planted in the house of the Lord shall flourish in the courts of our God. They shall still bring forth fruit in old age; they shall be fat and flourishing, to show that the Lord is upright." Here in the text from Isaiah God gives pious old age the reassuring promise that He Himself will carry His aging children in His sheltering arms to the end. Trusting in these divine promises, old age in the Christian resembles the golden fall of the year, when mellow sunshine glorifies the woods and fields, and there breathes a spirit of peace all about one.
What a blessing pious old fathers and mothers are to their family circle, to all their acquaintances! They have experienced the patience, mercy, and faithfulness of our God from their youth through all their long and eventful years and can advise, counsel, and comfort their children and friends in all their troubles and sorrows, pointing them always to our God, from whom comes our help, and praying for their loved ones and for their Savior's kingdom as long as their dear old lips can move.
Blessed the home that has such an old, praying father or mother to shelter and to cherish! How children and grandchildren will lovingly care for them and patiently bear with their increasing infirmities remembering the divine promises: "Honor thy father and mother... that it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth" (Eph. 6:2-3), and: “so repaying their parents and grandparents, for this is pleasing to God.” 1 Timothy 5:4 (NIV)
One sweetly solemn thought
Comes to me o'er and o'er:
Nearer my home today am I
Than e'er I've been before
Nearer my Father's house,
Where many mansions be;
Nearer today the great white throne,
Nearer the crystal sea.
Nearer the bound of life
Where burdens are laid down;
Nearer to leave the heavy cross,
Nearer to gain the crown.
But, lying dark between,
Winding down through the night,.
There rolls the silent, unknown stream
That leads at last to light.
E 'en now, perchance, my feet
Are slipping on the brink,
And I today, am nearer home
Nearer than now I think.
Father, perfect my trust;
Strengthen my spirit's faith;
Nor let me stand, at last, alone
Upon the shore of death.
Almighty God, we beseech Thee, show Thy mercy unto Thy humble servants, that we who put no trust in our own merits may not be dealt with after the severity of Thy judgement, but according to Thy mercy; through Jesus Christ, Thy Son, our Lord. Amen
(Luther, adapted, reprinted from 2005)