But the path of the righteous is like the light of dawn,
That shines brighter and brighter until the full day.
Our culture adores youth. We strive to keep our minds sharp, our bodies firm, our faces unlined, and we do our best to minimize the gray hairs. We look at aging as a sad but inevitable dimming of our bodies and minds. But this verse says exactly the opposite. Rather than raging against the dying of the light, the righteous will actually burn brighter and brighter, like the dawning of a new day. No need to rage–we are growing brighter in eternity, even as we burn down to embers here.
I just love that thought. We speak of the “declining years” because we tend to look too much at the deterioration of our bodies, but maybe they should actually be called the “ascending years” instead! Every year that a believer spends on this earth is one year closer to an eternity with Christ. As we age, we generally do have more physical challenges, but as we grow in grace and in the knowledge of the Truth, the physical aspects seem less and less important.
I just listened to an interview with Anne Ortlund, who is 86 years old. She has recently quit working, so it seems as if it might be a very difficult time for her, after spending so many years in ministry. Instead, she chuckled as she talked of how much she loved being old! She has found a new ministry–that of intercession. She has a list of people, hundreds of names long, which she prays through several times a week. I was impressed with her admonition that we don’t take intecession seriously enough, and I had to think that she is living the truth of the Proverb above.
I find myself occasionally “raging against the dying of the light,” feeling myself to be less effective, less needed than I was in years past, so this was a good reminder to me that as the body declines, the spirit can flame brilliantly higher and higher. No, I will not go gentle into that good night, because it is not night that I enter, but glorious eternal DAY.
**For those not familiar with the poem I keep referring to, do click on one of the links and read it or listen to it. It is a masterfully written poem and worth reading, and gives an excellent picture of old age without hope of heaven.