Making The Last Lap The Best

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Although I haven’t met them, I feel a close kinship with several WP writers. I often imagine joyfully meeting them in heaven, “Hey! It’s you!”. David Ettinger is one such writer. I’ve read his articles in Zion’s Fire for many years and enjoy his blog, http://ettingerwriting.wordpress. I commented today on his blog about aging and he encouraged me to turn the comment into a post!

At 64, like David, I’m included in the huge population of aging baby-boomers. Sometimes I have to remind myself, “Move on, you’re too old for those jeans!” or, “That’s for younger folks, act your age!” Mostly I need no reminding. I catch my reflection off guard or wonder, what’s the word I’m looking for…

But as believers we stand apart from the vast number of ‘baby-boomers’ and need not clamor over every new study on failing health, mental decline, or worry over aging alone in the world. Yes, take care of our vessel with healthy foods, good exercise and intellectual challenges. But our greatest hope and trust is not in a ‘good lifestyle’ but in a good and faithful God.

Years ago, the Lord taught me the precision of the sword, the word of God, that “…penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit…” My husband Bob grew up in the projects of Brooklyn, his neighbor, Donia Marie, was a strong believer. Her husband abandoned her and their children but her faith did not waiver – she shared the Gospel with the families around her and often invited them to church. When the youths, such as Bob, joined gangs, Donia Marie continued to pray and show them God’s love.

Her diligent prayers yielded much fruit. Several youths, such as Bob, became a true believers years later, always remembering their neighbor’s faithful witness. In 2006 her family called from out of state, sharing that Donia Marie suffered from Alzheimer’s. We went out to visit. This dear sister could not remember Bob, nor did she recognize her own daughter, but she recited scriptures, remembered the precious Gospel, and sang songs of praise while we were there. Her mind may have failed but her spirit and the life of God within her, was alive. Although she died in 2007, her testimony and love are still spoken of today. This encouraged me in many ways, realizing that mental health does not preclude spiritual health, and the purposes of God are not thwarted by our diminished capacities.

The Lord equips us for every season of our life, whether we are weakening from illness, aging or injury. Unlike the world’s challenges, ‘Fight your weakness! Reverse aging! Five Steps to Live Longer!’ our Lord declares, ‘When you are weak, then you are strong!’

Zac Poonen makes this point often in his Bible teaching, succinctly expounding, from Genesis to Revelation, how God waits for our own strength and flesh to reach ZERO for Him to move in with His strength, His purposes, and His divine power.

“All the trying circumstances, frustrations and disappointments, heartaches, etc that we go through are meant by God to bring the strength of our self down to zero”. (https://www.cfcindia.com/wftw/the-new-wine-in-new-wineskins) I highly recommend his books such as New Wine.

Brother Zac cites this truth with the spiritual giants of scripture who, at their weakest point, their ‘final years’, their point of greatest lacking – God said, ‘Now you’re ready to serve!’ When our ‘self-strength’ is gone, the Holy Spirit can move through our brokenness for God’s glory.

Paul Washer also edifies my faith, teaching ‘God is Creating Weakness in Our Life’. Pointing to our precious forerunner, Jesus, Pastor Paul cites Isaiah’s prophetic word, “Here is My Servant, whom I uphold, My chosen One in whom I delight…” God upheld Jesus, Paul Washer expounds, upon how much more must He uphold us!

“Jesus didn’t spend lengths of time in prayer because He was so spiritual or to show devotion; He was praying because He needed prayer, He needed to draw upon the Father’s strength…”

“Our problem is never that we’re too weak! God is constantly working weakness in us. We don’t even know how weak we are!”

Only believers can claim the certainty of ‘strength’ and ‘purpose’ as our natural lives decline and weaken. If we’re still here, still in the race, God’s purposes for us in this world remain: preparing us for His Kingdom, conforming us to the image of Christ, reaching out with the Gospel and declaring the coming of the King.

I pray to grasp ahold of these truths, to walk closer with the Lord – our forerunner in this race – and make the last lap the best lap before I meet Him face to face!

23 thoughts on “Making The Last Lap The Best

  1. Tremendous post, Lisa Beth. I usually like to pull out a quote to highlight in my comments, but as I kept reading, I realized I would have to reprint your entire post in the comments!!

    Two quick thoughts: Praise God for sending such Godly examples into the world such as Donia Marie and the influence she has had on so many. What you wrote about her here has encouraged me — 16 years later!

    And you next-to-last paragraph: “Only believers can claim the certainty of ‘strength’ and ‘purpose’ as our natural lives decline and weaken. If we’re still here, still in the race, God’s purposes for us in this world remain: preparing us for His Kingdom, conforming us to the image of Christ, reaching out with the Gospel and declaring the coming of the King.”

    So wonderfully said!

  2. Pingback: Making The Last Lap The Best — theburninglampdotcom | EttingerWriting.com

  3. Well said my sister! My mom is ninety one years old and suffering from Alzheimers. It’s ver sad to see her decline and how she doesn’t recognize some of us. She doesn’t lose her sense of humor though, and every day I look forward to speaking with her and we have a blast. I am battling a serious lung illness in which many times I feel like I am in a bottomless pit. A few years ago feeling in that bottomless pit I had a dream in which a friend and sister in Christ said to me : “when I am weak then I am strong.” Even though I am going through this horrific trial, He has been giving me the strength I need and my prayer is for Him to keep sanctifying me and preparing me for His coming. Looking forward to living with my Lord forever.

  4. Thank you Lisa Beth. My queen is mother of fourteen children and was selected Mother of the Millennium by the Godly Business Woman magazine in August of 2000. She is our queen and we love her very much.

  5. “God waits for our own strength and flesh to reach ZERO for Him to move in with His strength, His purposes, and His divine power.” … I’m fast approaching ZERO! The older I get (I’m 72) the more I see my weaknesses. And physically I’m struggling to walk because of an injury and other problems with one of my legs. But the Lord is so very faithful isn’t He. Always! Thank you for this encouraging post Lisa Beth!

    • Oh Cathy, thank you for sharing, I appreciate knowing of your struggles and God’s faithfulness. I pray the Lord order your steps, showing Himself to you in greater measure along the way. ⚘

  6. Thanks, Lisa Beth, for the good encouragement. We senior believers have the choice of focusing on our increasing physical limitations or drawing closer to the Lord. Our Christian journey is much about our spiritual relationship with the Lord and little about our temporal circumstances.

  7. Thank you, Lisa Beth, for this wonderful encouragement. It put me in mind of this quote from Amy Carmichael. God bless!
    “`
    When the will has forgotten the lifelong aim,
    And the mind can only disgrace its fame,
    And a man’s uncertain of his own name,
    The power of the Lord shall fill this frame.
    “`
    Carmichael, Amy (1970-01-01). Rose from Brier (p. 202). CLC Publications. Kindle Edition.

  8. I’m at Cody’s right now reading this for my devotion…you made the sword splitting come alive just now with your precious example from Bob’s mentor.
    I’ll forward it to them and they’ll want me to tell you Hi.
    I’m here for Luke’s graduation from college on the 14th….
    Another milestone…then praying for Sofia’s fiance’s visa.
    Loving you dc

    • Always love hearing from you Dorothy! Thank you for your kind comments. Please give my love to Cody and Ingrid. I’ll be praying for Sophia- God’s timing is perfect. I look forward to the good news of romantic visa! ❤

  9. Great post, Lisa Beth. Having just attended my 50-year (51-year) high school reunion, I am acutely aware of how quickly time passes, and how the things of God are what stick with us. The longer I live, the hollower the things of this world appear, and the sadder I am for those who have nothing else.

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