Tuesday, March 28, 2017

"As My Strength was Then..."

Joshua 14. 10-11 NASU

“Now behold, the Lord has let me live, just as He spoke, these forty-five years, from the time that the Lord spoke this word to Moses, when Israel walked in the wilderness; and now behold, I am eighty-five years old today.

I am still as strong today as I was in the day Moses sent me; as my strength was then, so my strength is now, for war and for going out and coming in.”

Caleb was a strong man. Or, at least, he thought he was. At 85, the patriarch asserted, “As my strength was then [at 40], so my strength is now.” I am just barely closer to 85 than 40, but I cannot honestly make that claim. 

Many old people love to give organ recitals. They point enthusiastically at body parts and proudly announce, “This organ hurts. That organ hurts.” An old guy’s poor health may be all he has to talk about. Caleb probably had a few aches and pains of his own, but he refused to dwell on or talk about them. The man had little time for self-pity. He was 85 years old and if he was to conquer giants in Hebron, then he better get started.

I used to talk about my various ailments. My family mostly ignored me, so I complained louder and more often. They kept ignorning me. Then I got mad and tried a new strategy for sympathy... I refused to speak about aching joints and failing body. I soon felt better. 

Perhaps it’s a mindset. Not a pop-psychology mindset. But a “mind set on the Spirit” of God (Romans 8.6). Caleb focused his mind squarely on a 45 year old promise of God. Caleb had a mindset of faith. He forgot about his age and limitations. He remembered only the faithfulness of the Lord.

Are you “only as old as you feel?” Apparently not, according to Caleb. Feelings have nothing to do with it. If Caleb were here today he’d forgo the organ recital and say again…

“As my strength was then, so my strength is now.”

I have an inheritance to claim. I must fight to possess a ‘Caleb mindset.’ Because “I can do all things through Him [Jesus Christ] who strengthens me” (Philippians 4.13), I will affirm with this old saint…

“As my strength was then, so my strength is now.”

Disclaimer: I do not mean to minimize the terrible affects of a debilitating disease, crippling handicap, or terminal illness. I only hope to encourage those who tend to complain about the typical aches and pains associated with aging, like me. I presume it is possible, like Caleb, to grow old with dignity, suffer in silence, and exhibit faith in Him who is able to impart the strength we need to live victoriously until the day we die.

The picture above is called "Old Man" at http://netk.net.au/KeoghHome.asp. It is by Australian Henry Keogh who was convicted of murder in 1995. Mr Keogh has always maintained his innocence. His murder conviction was overturned in December 2014 and he was released on bail.


One Sided said...

It would seem to me that in here some place is an argument for your strength to be more now than it was then.
In the physical we expect to reach a peak somewhere in our young adult stage. To be able to brag on the physical remaining at this early peak is correct.
Spiritually I would hate to think I had reached a peak and now I was in maintenance mode.

maffy said...

"Like Caleb, it is possible to grow old with real dignity and ample faith in Him who imparts all the strength we need until the day we die."

If we let go and let God, we really do get the strength we need. I'm not sure how that works, but it does.

Dave Scriven said...

How true, Mary Ann.