s I get older, I find myself dealing with a whole new set of issuesthings I never even considered when I was younger. And I frankly do not find them any easier than the things I dealt with as a teenager. I know we like to talk about how difficult the teenage years can be, and it is important for us to show that understanding to our teenage children and friends, but the simple fact is: life is hard! Very hard! No matter what the stage in life, it really is not a beach.
So I’m paying attention to the scriptures that provide encouragement, such as the passage I referenced yesterday (Psalm 37). But I’m also paying attention to the saints who have gone before... including some who are still living but who passed through my stage of life more than a decade ago.
As always, one of my favorites is John Piper, pastor of the Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis, MN, and author of the phenomenal book, Desiring God meditations of a Christian hedonist. I decided to pick this book up and read it again. I first read it about 10 years ago when I was at a very different place in life. So I’m going to see how it applies to my new context.
Here’s an appropriate quote from the book’s introduction:
The older I get, the more I am persuaded that Nehemiah 8:10 is crucial for living and dying well: “The joy of the LORD is your strength.” As we grow older and our bodies weaken, we must learn from teh Puritan pastor Richard Baxter (whoe died in 1691) to redouble our efforts to find strength from spiritual joy, not natural supplies. He prayed, “May the Living God, who is the portion and rest of the saints, make these our carnal minds so spiritual, and our earthly hearts so heavenly, that loving him, and delighting in him, may be the work of our lives.” When delighting in God is the work of our lives (which I call Christian Hedonism), there will be an inner strength for ministries of love to the very end.
John Piper, Desiring God (Sisters, Oregon: Multnomah Publishers, 2003), 11