Fresh and Green in Every Season
By Elisa Morgan
I used to kid my friend – who is 10 years older than me – about getting old. I would tease her on a myriad of topics. “You can’t remember that person’s name because you’re old!” “Technology is challenging for you because you’re old!” Looking back, I realize that today I’m beyond the age she was when I used to kid her and I see how mean I was. My kidding was ridiculous. Not nice Elisa!
Now I’m old.
Have you noticed evidence of aging in your life? Wrinkles around your eyes? Creaks in your joints? Words that get lost between your brain and your mouth? A slower pace? Confusion when learning new skills?
Like I said, I used to exclude myself from the ranks. I used to kid others who aged ahead of me. Now I look in the mirror and … relate.
Aging is an unavoidable reality. One that most of our society fears and rejects. According to the National Council on Aging, the number of those 65 and older is projected to almost double in the United States, reaching over 94 million by 2060. And while in my mind I might count myself out of an aging population, the reality is that I’m old and getting older. Every day. Every year. And so are you.
Psalm 92 gives me hope. The Psalmist writes, “The righteous will flourish like a palm tree, like a cedar of Lebanon; planted in the house of the Lord, they will flourish in the courts of our God. They will still bear fruit in old age, they will stay fresh and green …” (verses 12-14).
Okay! I’ll take it! Three phrases offer me hope. Even in old age, those who cling to God will:
Flourish. The word means to bud, sprout and blossom profusely. We can keep growing, learn new skills and take in surprising ideas and with such a focus we can flourish!
Still bear fruit. We can continue to produce fruit at every age. While we may slow down in our personal accomplishments, we might actually increase in our influence on the generations below us. We can encourage others as they grow fruit. My pastor calls this “growing fruit on other people’s trees.”
Stay fresh and green. Here the concept is to be full of sap, luxuriant and very green. Rather than crinkled up like late-autumn leaves, we remain verdant as we remain attached to the true Source of nutrients and hope. My mind wanders back to Psalm 1:3 where the person who delights in God’s Word “… is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither—whatever they do prospers.”
These words are not a guarantee of some Botox-infused facelift or a miracle potion that wipes out arthritis. Instead, the Psalmist woos us toward the bountiful blessing of ongoing worship of our God even as we age. Despite physical and mental diminishments, followers of Christ can remain in God’s presence, enjoying him forever, with the vitality of perpetual youth.
Whether or not we notice the aging process, it’s gonna happen. We will wrinkle, stoop and sometimes forget. Rather than denying or rejecting the inevitable reality that we are getting older every day, we can embrace each life stage as God has numbered our days. The next and the next and the next. Even in aging, we can stay fresh and green as we stay connected to God.
Elisa Morgan is the author of You are Not Alone. She is the cohost of the podcast, God Hears Her. She is also the cohost of Discover the Word and contributor to Our Daily Bread. Her other books include, Christmas Changes Everything, When We Pray Like Jesus,Hello, Beauty Full, and The Beauty of Broken. Connect with Elisa @elisamorganauthor on Facebook and Instagram.