The Best Is Yet To Come

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Today, I looked in the mirror.  The gray hair appears to be doing battle with the brown.  I looked again.  Apparently, the gray is winning.  OK–it has won.

 

Does it really matter?  Is this such a big deal?  Maybe–and then, maybe not.

 

OK–we all get a little older with every birthday.  But sometimes, it is more difficult for me to deal with the idea of my children growing up.  Sunday, after church, we came home and sat down to eat lunch.  We all bowed as I began to give thanks for our food.  As we bowed, it hit me that this was Jamie’s last Sunday home–her last Sunday lunch–before leaving for college.  As I prayed, I said Jamie’s name and then…

 

I teared up–started blubbering.  Oh brother…

 

I know–watching children grow up is a part of life.  Growing up.  Coming and going.  Leaving home.  Most of the time, I don’t mind.  You know how it is, you adjust and move on. 

 

I will tell you what bothers me.

  • I get bothered when people (maybe 40 or 45 years of age) begin to tell everyone they are getting "old" and then act as if they are.
  • I get bothered when people act as if one’s weight, figure, size, etc. are more important than anything else about a person.
  • I get bothered when people begin to shut down at 50 or 60.  They begin to act as if the best of life has happened and now they are just along for the ride.
  • I get bothered when people assume the worst about a younger or older person due to their age even though they don’t know them.
  • I get bothered when a person stops thinking, dreaming, and looking to the future.  That person really is "old."  She lives as if the best has already happened.

 

When I was in college at the University of North Texas, I took a communications class.  I noticed this girl the first day she walked through the door.  Stunning.  Very attractive.  Then after a few weeks of being in class, I heard her talk.  One day, just before class began, she turned around in her seat to talk to someone else in the class.  She loudly used the "f" word a few times as she talked about her weekend with her boyfriend.  Things went down from there.  The more she talked, the less attractive she seemed.  Apparently being attractive and being beautiful aren’t always the same thing.

 

A lot of people try their best to defy age.  A plastic surgeon  may help wrinkles or sagging skin disappear.  Perhaps this surgeon can enhance this or that on your body.  But a plastic surgeon cannot give a person real life.  He or she can’t impart the life that can only come through Jesus. 

 

The truth?  It is OK to be 20 years old, 30 years old, 40, 50, 60, or whatever–if the best is yet to come.  Isn’t that what Christians believe because of the Gospel?  Doesn’t the Gospel give us real life that can’t be touched or impacted by a biological clock?

 

For to me, living is Christ and dying is gain.  If I am to live in the flesh, that means fruitful labor for me, and I do not know which I prefer.  I am hard pressed between the two: my desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better (Philippians 1:21-23).

 

The best is yet to come!  Knowing this makes all the difference to me.  Knowing this makes it possible to live with contentment (Phil. 4:11-13).  Maybe, just maybe, He is enough–no matter what age you happen to be.  This is how I want to live. 

 

This is not meant to just be an encouraging post.  I’m telling you what is making a difference in my life.  What about you?

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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23 thoughts on “The Best Is Yet To Come

  1. I really enjoyed this post. I think this is so true. I believe that it’s so tempting to live in the past , ” those were the good ol days.” What’s so sad is that people’s lives pass before them, because they aren’t “seizing the day” appreciating every moment. I want to try to live more like that, appreciate life for what it is, what is has been, and what it will be. I want to appreciate every different situation (age) in life that I am in. At every age and every different situation, it continues to mold me as a person. I think you are such a great example of doing that Dad. You are always trying new things, challenging yourself, and encouraging me of making the most of the situation I am in.
    Thanks Dad! I thought that was a really good blog it encouraged me, I love you

  2. An encouraging post. 🙂

    Things that help me remember that the best is yet to come include conncecting with children and reading good stuff.

    Spending time with very young children helps me look at everything in a fresh new way because that’s the way they are looking at things. My grandson Zach (he’s 3 years old) wears my physical body out but renews my spirit!

    And reading good stuff allows me to think thoughts I never would have thought of on my own or in a different way than I would have thought them. For example, in a book by Dallas Willard, he said, “We do not have to live under the thumb of our circumstances.” That’s just another way of saying what Paul has already said (he says something like, I have learned to be content in every situation). But, reading it put in a different way by Mr. Willard made me stop and turn it over in my mind again and again and think of it throughout the day when unpleasant circumstances came up. I have found this to be invaluable throughout the years. (I might also add that listening to really good preaching can have the same effect on me as the minister shares something from the Bible and connects the dots for me in a way I had not been able to do on my own.)

    Anyway, my oldest son recently had his 27th birthday, and in reflecting on that, I realized that in my spirit, I don’t feel any older than 27 myself! The outer body is definitely perishing as I’m seeing gray hair and my joints are a little creaky, but inwardly I’m renewed day by day! God is SO good!

  3. Jim,
    Thanks for this post. Our youngest leaves for college next week, and this will be his last Sunday with us. I hope I am not a blubbering idiot this Sunday. This helps. Thanks.
    Dan

  4. Good stuff Jim, for sure. I’m a meager 27 years old, but in my current context it often makes me feel old. I have two years left on my BA and most of my classmates are considerably younger than me. I led a very wild life in my late teens/early 20’s, so it took me a while to get my life sorted out enough to go to school.

    And yet I feel as though time’s ticking sometimes whenever I see somebody who is my age who is further down the road I want to travel. I guess I need to stop comparing myself to others so much and focus on what God has for me.

  5. Having moved into the empty nest earlier this year, my wife and I have been sharing some of the blessings with another couple moving into that nest this week. At first it was strange but we’ve found that life together again is a part of “the best yet to come” and when we can visit with the kids, it’s just a little bit better!

  6. The best…..having Grandchildren….is amazing and only comes to us as our children go off and make new lives for themselves….thanks for a great post….gray / white….just call me the silver fox, at least that is what my SIL calls me!!

  7. Christine,
    What a great comment! You are wise beyond your years. You are much wiser than I was at your age.

    Thanks for the kind and encouraging comments. You are a wonderful daughter.

  8. Connie,
    I love that line by D. Willard. That is one I want to remember.

    I hear what you are saying regarding not feeling any older than 27. This morning, I received an e-mail from a guy I graduated from high school with. In many ways, it seems as if graduation was just a couple of years ago.

    I too am grateful for God’s goodness.

  9. Dan,
    Thanks. Our youngest started college last year. It was tough–especially at first. Then my wife and I learned to enjoy this time of life.

    May God bless Sunday as I suspect it will be an emotional day for you

  10. Matt,
    So glad you came by. When I first began to head toward “full-time” ministry. I felt so far behind. I was a business major (B.A. Business Admin.) and then later went to seminary. I felt so far behind. As you suggested, I would compare myself and my situation with other people my age and felt frustration.

    Later I saw how God used those years to mold and shape me and get me ready to relate to some people I otherwise could not connect with.

    Thanks again.

  11. Jim,
    Gray matters!
    Charlie
    P.S. Imagine being 66 yrs old around the year 1800 CE. You’re already past the lifespan of most. Time to step into the twilight perhaps? Not this person.
    Things seem too crowded east of the Mississippi so you take off with your 62 yr old wife and your 18 yr old son and his 17 yr old wife and settle in a nice little valley in Missouri beside a river with a large limestone out-cropping and commence to quarry huge stones for building a 4-story house with your own hands that becomes for years the showplace home west of the Miss.
    You’ve already gained and lost 100,000 acres of prime property in Virginia and Kentucky. You’ve twice been captured by Indians and escaped; lost two sons to Indian attacks. And worse than all this, you’ve served in politics as a prominent legislator!
    Talk about “The Best Is Yet To Come,” some say that Daniel Boone felt that his happiest (and perhaps most productive) years were after 66 yrs of age while still very active, working and hunting, living and loving, receiving and wisely advising hundreds from high-ranking dignitaries to lowly settlers, there in that Femme Osage River valley until he died at age 86 in the home that he and his son had built some 20 brief yrs earlier.
    BTW, neither age NOR SIZE matters, as Boone stood only 5 ft, 8 in. tall!!
    One final note re: age. Boone built his own wooden coffin and kept it on the 4th floor where he would occasionally go up and get in it to make sure it still fit! More to the point, it’s clear from Boone’s bio that he lived constantly with his own life’s end in view. Boone seemed to live the maxim of Thanatopsis (William Cullen Bryant) which my dad quoted to the family not long before he died: “So live, that when thy summons comes to join
    The innumerable caravan which moves
    To that mysterious realm, where each shall take
    His chamber in the silent halls of death,
    Thou go not, like the quarry-slave at night,
    Scourged to his dungeon, but, sustained and soothed
    By an unfaltering trust, approach thy grave
    Like one who wraps the drapery of his couch
    About him, and lies down to pleasant dreams.”

  12. Jim,
    I heard a segment on “All Things Considered” today, in which they were talking about how older people become less adventuresome and in some ways begin to shut down.

    Hopefully, in Christ, will just keep on going, renewed every day, still green and bearing fruit in old age (as the psalm says).

    Thanks!

  13. Charlie,
    A great comment! And–thanks for sharing the Daniel Boone story. (I didn’t know most of this). So apprently neither size or age matters. Good news again. 🙂

  14. Jim,
    Ronald Rolheiser in his book *The Holy Longing* gives wise words about aging. He writes that we must receive the (Holy) Spirit of the age we are…suggesting quite creatively that the best is always here and yet to come as we surrender to and accept our age as a gift from the Spirit.

    You’ve seen them—older ladies trying to look like Britney Spears or older men trying to appear like 20-somethings. So sad.

    Julie and I entered “the empty nest” yesterday. I wrote a post about it.

    You’ve got a great, affirming daughter there in Christine.

    God bless you, Jim.

  15. Hi, Jim –

    I know you’ve been by “Finding Direction” a couple of times at least and have commented, but this is the first chance I’ve had to drop by your blog.

    I’m here on your post “The Best is Yet to Come.” I agree, so much. Tom and I are actually a good ways further down the road than at least most of your commenters and yourself, as our kids (his and mine) are all long grown with kids of their own (he and I both married very young in life and had our children very young and now are together).

    And I’ve suffered an exceeding number (it seems at times) of physical problems the last few years from being diabetic more than 36 years, but I am happier and most optimistic than I’ve ever been, even having survived Katrina a year ago.

    I don’t know who Charlie Coil is above, but he quotes Thanatopsis by William Cullen Bryant and I am very taken with that because it is my mom’s favorite poem of all time and I have a copy of it boxed up somewhere around here right now with me.

    You know – I’m just thinking I know where exactly it might be and need to go look for it in a bit.

    I look forward, in all things, to the best to come, but at the same time realize that the most of my life, IS, indeed, behind me. But I find that comforting and encouraging in and of itself for the reasons you give.

    For me – as for Paul – I try to live so that to live is Christ and I KNOW to die is gain. I fail miserably still, I’m afraid, but I also have great hope.

    I’m sorry to be commenting here on this post at such a late date. Everyone else will have long ago moved on, including yourself, I’m sure. But it struck a chord with me because that is pretty much my theme song, I would say.

    The best is yet to come. YES! Absolutely!

    Cheers & Blessings! Dee Andrews

    P. S. So, you are a minister in Waco? I was just out in Abilene in July visiting my mom and sister. I grew up near Lubbock (just north of there) on a cotton farm.

    Incidentally, I saw your link to Jim McQuiggen. Tom and I lived across the street for several years about 10 years ago from Jim’s daughter, Linda, and her husband, Stan Cunningham, who were dear friends. Stan preached for us at Bayou Oaks c of C in Slidell, LA as well as working full time then.

    Tom and Stan were great friends and Jim McQuiggen came to visit Stan and Linda more than once and spoke at Bayou Oaks and it was wonderful.

    I like your blog. I identify.

    So – how do you know Greg England?!

  16. Dee,
    Thanks so much for your commments. (Your comment is certainly not “too late” I enjoyed reading it.)

    You bring an important perspective to this after having experienced so many health problems, not to mention the hurricane.

    (I’ve known Greg for many years. He is from the same area–North Alabama–as my wife)

    Thanks…