God's Honor Is Not at Stake
Prayer of the Distracted Soul

Reflections on Aging and Living


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Beyond our opinions of others or their opinions of us as we live in our own times, is the boisterous internal argument about the significance of our lives. More than the legacy that we shall leave and the memories that shall be evoked by our names, we are driven by our own speculations and, as time passes on and gains momentum, there is a gnawing urgency to build something that will last.

Then, we encounter the roadblocks of our own flaws and weaknesses.

They are accompanied by the taunts of all forces that oppose our quest.

" Rescue me, O my God, from the hand of the wicked,
from the grasp of the unjust and cruel man.
For you, O Lord, are my hope,
my trust, O LORD, from my youth.
Upon you I have leaned from before my birth;
you are he who took me from my mother's womb.
My praise is continually of you."

(Psalm 71:4-6 ESV)

I wonder if I could apply this prayer to ask God to rescue me from myself - my own worst enemy. I am unjust and cruel with myself. My capacity for wickedness rivals the Charlie Mansons of the world. But I have hope, trust, and leaning -- and while leaning on the Everlasting Arms, I am restrained and retrained.

I never expected to get this old this soon. There is more time passed than there is before - not enough time ahead, it would seem, is there for the lofty dreams and apirations I have long cherised but feebly implemented.

Not that I am old, but there are limitations and failures that I thought I would not experience for decades to come. They are not insurmountable, but I can see how people with less of a sense of unseen Center and the guiding hand of divine Purpose might get discouraged, and feel forsaken or spent. He who renews our youth like the eagle causes us to run and not be weary to walk and not

"Do not cast me off in the time of old age; forsake me not when my strength is spent." -Psalm 71:9 ESV)

There is a purpose statement buried in these words - a purpose for our final third or fourth of life:

"... until I proclaim your might to another generation,
your power to all those to come..."

We may have entered the time when we are not primarily building our own ministries and legacies, but those of the next generations. In many ways, that is always the case at every stage of life ... but it becomes more of a priority as we age.

We say, "but I am not done building our own," and God says, "It never was your own in the first place."

That becomes clearer with the years.

It never was mine to build for myself.

And then, there comes great joy in proclaiming to another generation.

That is where I want to invest the next phase of my existence on this planet.

" O God, from my youth you have taught me,
and I still proclaim your wondrous deeds.
So even to old age and gray hairs,
O God, do not forsake me,
until I proclaim your might to another generation,
your power to all those to come.
Your righteousness, O God,
reaches the high heavens.
You who have done great things,
O God, who is like you?
You who have made me see many troubles and calamities
will revive me again;
from the depths of the earth
you will bring me up again.
You will increase my greatness
and comfort me again."

(Psalm 71:17-21 ESV)

But time!

I am a dues-paying member of the impatient club. I get impatient with myself, with individuals, with slow service, with shoddy service, with life, and sometimes, with God. I get impatient when people's attitudes don't turn on a dime, when people don't see the world the way I see it (and think that God does), when people are impatient with me, and with about anything else I have the capacity to be impatient with ...

Lack of funds ...
Criticism ....
My own critical spirit ...
Long lines ...
People just being human and flawed ...
My own flaws ....
With technology ...
With lack of technology ...
When technology out-guesses me ...
When technology does not know what I am thinking ...
Injustice ...
Justice without mercy ...

It is a lose/lose situation and, when I am most impatient, it looks like I have lots of enemies stacked up against me.

I can name many ... and most are headquartered in my head. My club dues are paid .

The dues are priced very high.

I can pray/sing with the psalmist the same prayer/song he prayed/sang. It is sometimes a hurried prayer for God to hurry. I just pray that I come to the same point of resolution. Amen.

"Make haste, O God, to deliver me!
O LORD, make haste to help me!
Let them be put to shame and confusion
who seek my life!
Let them be turned back and brought to dishonor
who delight in my hurt!
Let them turn back because of their shame
who say, “Aha, Aha!”"

"May all who seek you
rejoice and be glad in you!
May those who love your salvation
say evermore, “God is great!”
But I am poor and needy;
hasten to me, O God!
You are my help and my deliverer;
O LORD, do not delay!"

- Psalm 70, ESV