A High View of God and High Senior Adult Living

A few years ago, I was driving back to Dallas, Texas, having made a trip to speak in Abilene. It was night, but there was a canopy of light over the city—a horrific thunder and lightning storm, that undulated and seemed almost to be alive. The storm reminded me of the immense power of God, far above that of man.


I was reading in Ezekiel this morning of how the priest of God in Babylonian captivity was called to be the prophet of God. It began with a vision of God in a

“windstorm coming out of the north—an immense cloud with flashing lightning and surrounded by brilliant light. The center of the fire looked like glowing metal, and in the fire was what looked like four living creatures. In appearance their form was that of a man, but each of them had four faces and four wings. . . . Above the expanse over their heads was what looked like a throne of sapphire, and high above the throne was a figure like that of a man. I saw that from what appeared to be his waist up he looked like glowing metal, as if full of fire, and that from there down he looked like ice, and brilliant light surround him. Like the appearance of a rainbow in the clouds on a rainy day, so was the radiance around him. This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the Lord. When I saw it, I fell facedown, and I heard the voice of one speaking” (Ezek. 1:4-6, 25-28, NIV).

 

This was a picture of the holy God bringing judgment on his people, because with their repeated sins they had become unclean and had polluted the temple in Jerusalem to such a degree that God had to leave. But even in judgment, he was with them while they were in captivity. In judgment, he was calling Ezekiel to serve him and them.

With such a high view of God, the prophet was able to function counterculture and do the work of God in a pagan land for 22 years. With such images of God burned on his mind, he felt compelled to do God’s work, even though most around him did not.

The wonder of scripture reveals that this holy God—so powerful and so different and so distant from man—is also our heavenly father, who loved us so much that he gave his son as a sacrifice to save us from our sins. All of this was so that he could be with us and we could be with him. Just as God called Ezekiel to do a work in his day, I believe God is calling his older people (whom the church has largely cast aside as unimportant) to do a great work in our day.

Today in the religious world, we value education, but not wisdom or spiritual maturity. James, the Lord’s brother, on the other hand, believes such wisdom has great value for the church. He writes:

 

Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show it by his good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom. But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. Such wisdom does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, of the devil. . . . But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peaceloving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. Peacemakers who sow in peace raise a harvest of righteousness?” (James 3:13-15, 17-18).

 

Senior adults who have lived with God and under his will for scores of years, little by little, have been trained by God to be useful in the kingdom. Similarly, God had to wait for Abraham, Joseph, Naomi, Lydia, John, and other biblical persons to grow up to be his men and women of faith. Wisdom and spiritual maturity equal usefulness in the heavenly cause. Older adults do not have a monopoly on wisdom, but it is common among them.

We at PAR are calling for older Christians who know God and have seen him work in their lives to begin a grass roots effort to find their purpose in serving God, his people, and the nearby community. Let’s build an army of Christian volunteers across this nation and use our extra years, with our God-given gifts, to serve those around us. It will be a “wonder-full” four-fold blessing—for ourselves, God, church, and community. What a difference our world would be if we defined “older Christians” and “useful servants”! This can be a reality if we keep coming back to the Bible to see God as he really is and keep asking him what he wants us to do with our bonus years.

Jim Hughes

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