This year I have been using the Celtic Daily Prayer: Prayers and Readings from the Northumbria Community for my daily devotions. It has a morning, mid day, and nightly prayer that you can read, as well as a Scripture passage from the Psalms, the OT, and the NT, then a devotional for that day of the year, and then a devotion for that day of the month.
Today’s OT reading was Proverbs 20:24-25, but I chose to read 20:17-30 just because I enjoy reading large chunks of Scripture. Verses 24 and 29 really stood out to me
“A person’s steps are directed by the Lord.
How then can anyone understand their own way?”
“The glory of young men is their strength,
gray hair the splendor of the old”
So often we get caught up in trying to plan our life out to the “T.” We want to be in control of our own life and destiny. We get frustrated by what we do not know or what we are unable to do.
We long for a different time of life.
I have seen it too many times. Single folks want to be married with kids. Married folks with young kids want a time of life when their kids are old enough to pick up after themselves. Parents of teenages want the young child that cuddles. Empty nesters want some sort of child again. Grand parents wish they were young enough to run around with their child.
An entry level worker wishes they were management. A supervisor or manager wishes they didn’t have the responsibility over their workers.
The person who is renting or owns a small house wishes they had a large lawn and multiple bedrooms and bathrooms, or a large living room to entertain folks. People with large houses reminisce about when they had no lawn to mow or rooms to clean.
How about, instead of looking longingly at someone else’s life stage and wishing we were there already, or to be there again, we embrace where we are.
This doesn’t mean that goals are not set, or that we do not appreciate what we once had. Rather, this means respecting each person where they are, and praising God for how he works in each and every stage of life.
If everyone was young and wealthy with lots of kids, then who would have the wisdom to direct such resources and energy?
If everyone was wise and old, then who would have ears to listen?
I suggest we encourage the strength of the youth. I suggest that we listen to the wisdom of years. And I also encourage us to just plain encourage everyone.
Everyone has a strength, skill, or insight which is important.
As Paul states in Romans 12:3-5 “For by the grace given to me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you. For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ, we though many, form one body, and each member belongs to the others.”
And again in 1 Corinthians 12:15-26
15 Now if the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. 16 And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. 17 If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? 18 But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. 19 If they were all one part, where would the body be? 20 As it is, there are many parts, but one body.
21 The eye cannot say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” And the head cannot say to the feet, “I don’t need you!” 22 On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, 23 and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor. And the parts that are unpresentable are treated with special modesty,24 while our presentable parts need no special treatment. But God has put the body together, giving greater honor to the parts that lacked it,25 so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. 26 If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.”