I turn 39 today. As I was driving I heard “Forever Young” on the radio, an old 80’s tune. It made me think about the fact that most young people spend their years wishing they were older and most old people spend their years wishing they were younger. Overall, no one is really satisfied with where they are at. I want to be content at 39. At the same time, I don’t want to be complacent. I want to enjoy 39, but not remain as I am now. I want to grow more, mature more, and learn more. I want to become more compassionate, more loving, more peaceful, more patient, kinder, wiser, and healthier (in every sense of the word). The goal is not perfection, for that is not possible in this life. The goal is simply to look more like Jesus for whatever number of years or days God has given me. I don’t wish this for the admiration or respect others, but because I deeply believe this kind of growth where the most honor to God and the most joy for myself will be found.
At 39, I imagine many people go into a depression because, statistically, I am probably closer to death than I have ever been. But let’s be honest, this is an unavoidable consequence for us all—we’re dying the day we’re born. For those who are in Christ, such thinking should not lead us to depression for we know that this life is not all there is—we are no longer natural, but spiritual. Even though our bodies start to breakdown and our minds function a little bit slower, we do not lost heart. Life should become richer with each new year; and if we don’t experience that in this life, we’ll definitely experience in the next. As Paul writes, “Though our outer nature is wasting away, our inner nature is being renewed day by day. For this slight momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all compassion” (2Cor. 4.16-17).
Life is just a speed bump to eternity with our Creator. And when we’re sitting with Jesus for over 70 million years, we will look back and see everything in its right perspective. Namely, the greatest sufferings in our earthly lives will seem like stubbing our toes, and our greatest achievements will seem like winning the 1st grade checkers championships. Here’s to rejoicing in what God has already done for me for the next 39 years, 39 days, or 39 minutes…or whatever time I have left until I see Him in all his glory.