Pastoral 2012

God’s Care For The Elderly

Written by Pr Jeremiah Sim Sunday, 22 April 2012

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The latest Internet report shows that Singapore has a fast ageing population. Today, the age of one in five elderly ones is approximately 55 to 70 years. Among them, many are physically or mentally impaired and they struggle to cope with their physical disabilities and to maintain a sense of worth or dignity in life. Such a situation has caused many of these seniors to think of life as meaningless.

The government has called on charitable organizations and societies to help the elderly. Many social groups have been making great efforts to organize programmes to motivate and support them. There is no doubt that all these activities provide them with opportunities to build bonds and friendship.

However, the real problems faced by the elderly are not solved just by the economical, physical and social care. Many of them are spiritually disillusioned and lack spiritual understanding, joy and peace. This is even true with some Christian folks.

But how wonderful it is that the Scriptures assure the elderly who trust the Lord of His love and care for them. In this article, I would like to explain God’s special care for His aged people.

God’s providential care is promised to the aged in many places in the Bible. God will not forsake His servants when they are old.

God declares in Isaiah 46:4, “even to your old age I am he; and even to hoar hairs will I carry you: I have made, and I will bear; even I will carry, and will deliver you.” What a comforting message to Christians who are troubled by the thought of ageing. God, who has been watching over you since birth, will continue to watch and care for you even when you reach old age.

Those who trust in the Lord’s mighty power to aid them and even use them for His glory when they are old have been greatly blessed. For example, Abraham obeyed God when He called him at the age of 75 to depart from his own land (Genesis 12:4). The LORD kept His promise to Abraham; He protected and blessed him throughout the journey till the day he died (Genesis 24:1; 24:40).

Wherefore, Christians who are ageing should not allow their hearts to be overwhelmed by the thought of the infirmities of old age but rather, you should rejoice and be glad because of His gracious promise that He will be with you (cf. Geneses 28:15). Certainly, there will be times of sickness, troubles, loneliness, etc. Some trials may severely vex you. Nonetheless, as God emphatically declares in Joshua 1:9, “Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the LORD thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.” This was the Lord’s promise to Joshua, who was 80 years when God encouraged him to lead His people.

The ageing apostle Paul, in his state of frailty, was also strengthened when the Lord Jesus said, “My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:9a), and he praised God, saying, “Therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong” (2 Corinthians 12:9-10).

Dear senior, be not weary of the many trials that might come into your life. You can combat these ordeals by claiming Christ’ infallible Word of promise to the apostle Paul, “My grace is sufficient for thee.” I would like to urge you to read the Bible and meditate therein day and night (Joshua 1:8). Recollect regularly how the Lord’s goodness was extended to His people, that your hearts may be encouraged to rely on the Lord always.

I would also urge you to pray often with gratitude, like David who prayed in Psalm 71:5-9, “For thou art my hope, O Lord GOD: thou art my trust from my youth. By thee have I been holden up from the womb: thou art he that took me out of my mother’s bowels: my praise shall be continually of thee. I am as a wonder unto many; but thou art my strong refuge. Let my mouth be filled with thy praise and with thy honour all the day. Cast me not off in the time of old age; forsake me not when my strength faileth.” David was thankful and knew of the noble actions which he had been able to achieve through years of God’s care and guidance. God, who had watched over David from infancy, guided him in childhood and youth, defended him in manhood, upheld him in the days of sickness, danger, bereavement and trouble, would not leave him alone in his advanced years, when he is in need of His special care. Dear senior, it is not unnatural or improper to pray for special grace and strength for your old age. Even when our outward man decays, our inward man must be renewed in the Lord day by day.

God has promised not to forsake us and He will surely fulfil it. Only cast your care upon Him; for He careth for you (1 Peter 5:7).

 

Gethsemane Seniors’ Ministry meets every Thursday (11 am).
For more information, please call Pr Jeremiah Sim at 8333 9483.