Old but able

The Doctor's Life Support for 7 November

… your strength will equal your days.

Deuteronomy 33: 25

Elderly people, including older health workers, can feel undervalued. When youth is favoured more than experience, some start to look forward to retirement with disturbing eagerness. Moses was different. At 120 years of age, still on call for God, he was asked to climb a mountain. (Deuteronomy 32: 49–50) From the summit he would see the promised land, but be denied entry to it. Instead, he was to convey God’s message to those he was about to leave. Moses suited this role so well precisely because he was elderly. He’d seen life in the round. Like all old men, he was prone to say, ‘Remember the days of old’ (Deuteronomy 32: 7) but he could also look ahead. The alternatives of life and prosperity or death and destruction would depend on his followers’ being careful to obey God. (Deuteronomy 30: 15–18) Moses’ wisdom in old age was rooted in lessons learned early in life. God’s daily provision of manna had taught him to trust for each day as it came. Now, at 120 years, his eyesight and stamina endured. (Deuteronomy 34: 7) God had proved utterly trustworthy, both for the daily round and on their wilderness journey. His great age was irrelevant, except that long experience added weight to his warnings. Moses still speaks to elderly carers and their ageing patients. To look ahead as he did, assured of God’s love and faithfulness, is to gain strength for each day. It can also offer fresh wisdom to those who follow. What then? Shall we sit idly down and say, ‘The night has come, it is no longer day’? For age is opportunity, no less Than youth itself, though in another dress, And as the evening twilight fades away The sky is filled with stars, invisible by day. Nothing is too late. Longfellow


Written by D E B Powell from UK

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