“And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns. ~ Philippians 1:6 NLT
Have you had a birthday recently? Did you think, “I am getting old!”? I have!
A few weekends ago I had the privilege of attending an international women’s conference. Perhaps the speaker who touched me the most presented on the last day. She is an 82-year-old Australian missionary and prophetic teacher, Royree Jensen. Her quick mind, youthful posture and movements somehow belied her white hair and the wrinkles on her face. She kept us laughing till the tears ran down our cheeks. Who says growing old and finishing well has to be a serious topic? As she spoke, I felt younger and younger. Besides Royree’s talk, the same day they had pointed out that three of the principle organizers and world renown speakers were seventy years old.
As we grow older, loss seems to characterize more of our lives. Royree stressed that all of us will suffer losses in our lives. She also told us, “Loss is a part of our legacy, but not our destiny.” We should learn not to focus on what or who was lost, rather on “the leftovers”. Those who are stuck focusing on the past and what has been lost die a little with each loss. We should exhort each other, “Don’t die before you are dead!” She insisted that life is always in the leftovers. Focus on those and live into them.
In 2 Kings 4 a widow of one of the prophets asks Elisha for help. She and her two sons were about to starve to death. Elisha asked what she had. “Nothing at all except a flask of olive oil,” she replied. He ordered her to borrow as many containers as she could, then begin pour the leftover oil into them. The flask continued to pour out oil until she ran out of containers. We can trust the Lord to fill the emptiness of loss when we surrender it to him.
Maybe you are feeling that you are the leftover as the rush of life’s activity roars by you. Remember we all will experience loss, the loss of a loved one, the loss of our health, the loss of financial security, the loss of a relationship, or the loss of our confidence that God can meet our needs. If that’s not you, look around you. Someone you know needs your encouragement. She needs to hear she is not too old, too ill, too isolated. Tell her not to let her joy and her life’s purpose die before she is dead. Our God always has a plan to redeem, to restore and to breathe new life into dried up places.
Dear friends, be blessed as you choose not to allow your age nor your losses define your identity. Your loving Lord, who died to give you new life, and knows you best, has plans to use you. He has gone to a lot of trouble to tenderize you in tribulations and disappointments so he can use what’s left over in you to further his Kingdom and to give him the glory of your testimony. Smile and choose to live into your destiny. Amen.
Mary Sumner ~May 23, 2023