Last Sunday an older lady in our church came up to me. Actually, she is in her early 60's but looks at least 20 years older. She has not followed the Lord for very long and is in ill health. I greeted her and noticed that she was obviously shaky and weak.
As I talked with her, she told me of her recent doctor's visit and the disturbing news that a cyst had burst in her eye. She sobbed and admitted that she felt hopeless and fearful knowing that blindness was a possible outcome. I felt pity for her and asked if I could pray for her. She readily agreed. I prayed for God to touch her eye and give her renewed faith to believe Him for a miracle. I tried to encourage her further by telling her that God had healed me of a thyroid condition, and I knew that He would heal her if she believed Him. My words seemed to fall to the ground as she continued to tell me the details of the bad report the doctor had given her. She seemed unable to muster enough faith to rise above her situation as she continued to recall the negative details of her last doctor's visit. I listened for a few moments and assured her I would continue to pray for her.
As I walked away, Ecclesiastes 12:1 came to my mind. 'Remember also your Creator in the days of your youth.” I memorized this verse as a young child, but it wasn't until I was an adult that I had the opportunity to observe the lives of those who have not remembered their Creator while they were young and walked according to His ways.
My husband and I have pastored for 14 years, and we have had varied opportunities to meet people of diverse backgrounds and spiritual levels. One of the saddest things we see are people who waited until their later years in life to make Jesus the Lord of their lives. We find that though they love God and have accepted His gift of salvation, many people who accept Christ in their golden years find it hard to believe God for peace, healing, restoration or guidance in their daily affairs.
All new believers regardless of age must start with mustard seed faith and feed it with God's Word so that it will bring righteous fruit. But it is much easier to do when you're young and full of health and energy. When your mind is fresh and unmedicated it is so much easier to read God's Word and hear His Holy Spirit speak.
There are Christians who routinely attend church, pray and read their Bibles and are gradually maturing in Christ. They pray over their families and decisions; they ask God for wisdom and guidance. Many times they are unaware of the personal growth that takes place in their own lives over the years by merely being faithful and striving to live according to God's Word.
Proverbs 4:18 says the path of the righteous shines brighter and brighter until it reaches full strength. The promise to the believer who continuously (not perfectly) strives to follow God's Word is that he/she will gain strength.
Last Sunday, as I talked with my friend about her illness, another lady joined our conversation. She is the same age yet strikingly different. She has served the Lord much longer. She looks much younger, still works a full-time job and ministers at the church. There are clear benefits to committing our lives to Him when we are young and continuing to be faithful to Him. Am I suggesting that following the Lord has health benefits? Absolutely. Proverbs 4:20-22 is confirmation to that. It says, 'My son, be attentive to my words; incline your ear to my sayings. Let them not escape from your sight; keep them within your heart. For they are life to those who find them, and healing to all their flesh.”
Not only will we be healthier by living according to God's Word and applying godly wisdom in our lives, we will have peace of mind and greater joy. Proverbs 3:1,2 says if we live according to God's law and keep His commandments He will add 'length of days, life [worth living] and tranquility [inward and outward and continuing through old age till death], these shall they add to you” (Amplified Bible). Amazing! Abundant life is ours as we faithfully follow Him all of our days.