“From one man, he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live. God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him, and find him, though he is not far from each of us.” Acts 17:26, 27.
I am starting to feel old. The feeling started creeping into me when I gave birth to Iliana at 29, and especially when I turned 30. To me, my face doesn’t appear as fresh as it once did. It doesn’t help that I live on a college campus and am surrounded by young bright-faced kids. I love them and love my life here, but that could be part of the reason I feel so old. My huband and I used to be the young ones in our congregations.
My home not withstanding, I still feel age creeping in.
When I was 25, I told the Lord that I was now a quarter of a century old, perhaps most of my life nearly over. I can hear readers, and others say, “Ah, Marlena. Pish, pash (as they wave their hands), you aren’t so old.” But already, I can see that some of my youthful vigor has fled. I wanted to change the world, but perhaps I am realizing what Andy Crouch, in his book Culture Making, gets at. He notes that we can change the little cultures, around us, our spheres of influence. And it’s not like I want to be dictator of the world, or somehing like that. My hope is that those around me would taste and savor, and follow, our only God and Savior, Jesus Christ. That through him, they’d see his beauty and the beauty of the world, and realize that redemption is not merely an idea, but a reality that saturates our lives, changing our lives, as we live in him. God has unveiled himself and the glory of the whole universe for us. It’s just we cannot perceive it all. We perceive it little by little. Our concept of God is too small.
Yet though I age, last night I prayed that I would continually become a little child. I think of one of my favorite quotes by G.K. Chesterton, in his book Orthodoxy (I can’t remember what page) “We have sinned and grown old, and our Father is younger than we.” Yes, O God, may I continually be awe-inspired, may I fear your love and beauty and goodness and judgment. You could snuff me away in an instant. And may I trust you, like a child would trust a good father and mother, even when she doesn’t comprehend the reasons behind father and mother’s instructions or actions. You, O God, are worthy of my trust.
O of course, I’d love to be physically beautiful, and youthful, and brilliant. But really, I am only so beautiful and so brilliant, and I am moving away from youth. But I hope to remain a child and to ruminate on that concept, that I might see what it means for my life.