For many of y’all, spring has fully arrived, and you’re anxiously awaiting summer. Here in my neck-of-the-woods, we’re never sure what the day might bring. Sometimes rainy and 50’s. Other times sunny and 70’s or even 80’s. Believe me…I’m ANXIOUSLY awaiting the Pacific Northwest’s full-blown summer.
Does anyone yearn for winter’s bone-chilling cold? Maybe not, but I know folks who absolutely can’t wait for the snow it brings. They love that untouched white blanket. The exhilarating cool, crisp air. Some even enjoy dark and cozy winter nights with a warm fire, drinking a cup of something hot and tasty.
Ready or not, seasons change as do the seasons of our lives. It seems like yesterday that I was walking the halls of my high school. What happened to those thirty-four years? Eeeee-gad! I’m definitely not a Spring chicken anymore, but I don’t suppose I’ve hit winter yet either.
Moses’s sister Miriam was fairly certain she’d hit the winter of her life at eighty-six years old, but I don’t think the Lord intended that she relax or retire. I don’t believe God offers any of us an early retirement or pension plan. It’s all in; all the time.
A Miriam Example
A couple of months ago, I received a sweet email from a woman (I’ll call her “Diane” for anonymity), who reminded me of Miriam—full of spunk and pizzazz.
I discovered your books a while back and just finished Pharaoh’s Daughter. Once I started it I couldn’t put it down. I loved it but toward the end my eyes were flooded with tears…When I am finished with your books now, I pass them on to folks at my church or family members…I just turned 80 but it will only get better from here as I serve the Lord. I’ll stay here as long as I can be active and be about my Father’s business. God bless you as you continue your journey!
This precious lady—in the winter of her life—struck me as a living example of faithfulness in suffering and service. I think you’ll enjoy her correspondence as much as I did.
Seasons of Suffering
From Diane’s life season:
In the past two years two of my granddaughters died. One Nancy, who was more of a daughter to me, shot herself due to serious depression, and the other, her sister Angie, age 29, died 6 months later of an overdose of drugs.
Angie loved the same bible based fiction books that I do and couldn’t wait for me to finish one so I ended up just buying two of each. I know both of my girls are with our Lord and it was only by His grace and mercy that we got through.
From God’s Word
Suffering is no respecter of age. Jesus promised we would have trouble, but He also assured us that His victory would be ours:
“In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33
Peter tells us to expect suffering and challenges us to rejoice in hardships:
“…Do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed.”
1 Peter 4:12-13
Bottom line on suffering? It’s gonna happen, but it ain’t permanent. Though sometimes God may feel as far away as He felt to the Israelites in Egypt, the truth is: He is near and promises eternal life to all who believe in Jesus’ sacrifice for sins. Relief from suffering comes through focusing on our eternal future rather than our temporary present:
“For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” 2 Corinthians 4:17-18
Seasons of Service
From Diane’s Life Season:
When I rededicated my life at age 40, I told the Lord I would try to do what He wanted done and go where He wanted me to. He takes us at our word! My first job was cleaning Sunday School class rooms (with all the ugh glue on the tables), but moved to teaching children, secretary of the mission board, deaconess, writing for the church newspaper…During that time I knew for 10 years that God wanted me to go to Ecuador, SA, and I couldn’t tell you why. Finally so many things fell into place and I, who had never been out of the country, was on a plane south to serve 2 months short term at Hospital Vozandes in Quito for HCJB Ministry.
In 1995 I sent a note of encouragement to an inmate and had my first prison visit in 1996. Now at times I have a list of up to 40 guys and visit 8 different state prisons on a one to one visit. I collect money at Christmas to send them a monetary gift for those who are too ill to work or have no family to care for them. Mostly I just write to them and I love these guys. Some that have gotten out ate at our table or attended our church…
From God’s Word
You’ll never find the word “retirement” in Scripture. The only shifting of work activity because of age occurs in Numbers 4, when the priests and Levites between the ages of thirty to fifty were counted to assess how many could help with the heavy, physical labor or set-up, tear-down, and carrying the Tent of Meeting during the wilderness wandering.
John the Apostle lived into his nineties and probably wrote the book of Revelation in his old age from his exile on the Isle of Patmos.
“The revelation from Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show his servants what must soon take place. He made it known by sending his angel to his servant John, who testifies to everything he saw—that is, the word of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ.” Revelation 1:1-2
And what about Miriam? We know her as a dancing prophetess at eighty-six, but when did she BEGIN serving God? By my calculations, she would have been about six or seven years old when she followed her little brother’s basket through the bulrushes and had that bold and God-directed conversation with the Pharaoh’s daughter.
“Then his sister asked Pharaoh’s daughter, ‘Shall I go and get one of the Hebrew women to nurse the baby for you?’” Exodus 2:7
We’re never too young or too old to serve the eternal God. So no matter which season you find yourself in at this moment—whether you’re suffering or serving or maybe even celebrating—do it as unto the Lord. Do it with eternity as your focus.
- I don’t believe God offers early retirement or pension plan to His people. It’s all in all the time.
- Jesus promised we would have trouble but also assured us that His victory was ours.
- No matter which life season you’re in now, live it with eternity as your focus.
- How is God prompting your heart to be faithful in your current life season?