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What Psalm 71 Teaches Us About Aging

The Book of Psalms is often turned to for comfort and hope, and many Christians have favorites that they read in times of trouble. Believers who dig deeper will find this collection of songs and poetry provides more then just encouragement. For example, many powerful life lessons can be found within Psalm 71 on the topics of aging, faith and hope. Here are two key things that this chapter can teach seniors today.

The Young And The Old Rely On God Equally

For you, O Lord, are my hope, my trust, O LORD, from my youth. Psalm 71:5 (ESV)

The writer of Psalm 71 frequently refers to his childhood and the ways that God has been there to care for him since birth (verse 6) and to teach him (verse 17). He notes that throughout his life, he has been an example for others to follow (verse 7), but now he is old and his strength is failing (verse 9). This change in his circumstances prompts him to call out for God to continue to help and protect him (verse 1-2).

Seniors reading this chapter may relate to its prayer-like plea for assistance in hard times. It's natural to feel anxious when the things that we are accustomed to in our lives change. However, this psalm reminds us that growing older and facing health issues is a normal part of life, even though it may be new and unfamiliar to us.

God shows us throughout the Bible that He understands how unsettling change can be for us (Joshua 1:9, Philippians 4:6-7), but He promises to never leave us or forsake us (Deuteronomy 31:6). Whether we face a sudden medical diagnosis or chronic arthritis pain and fatigue, God reassures us that He will continue to strengthen and protect us in our old age (Isaiah 46:4) and that He never changes His mind or goes back on His promises (Numbers 23:19).

Our Faith And Testimony Are The Most Important Things In Life

My mouth will tell of your righteous acts, of your deeds of salvation all the day, for their number is past my knowledge. Psalm 71:15 (ESV)

Psalm 71 is filled with praise (verse 14) and the desire to share the good things that God has done with others (verse 18). Despite his present worries and the fact that he has seen many troubles (verse 20), the writer is confident that God is righteous in His actions (verse 19) and this faith gives him joy (verse 23).

Like the psalmist, seniors of faith may have trouble explaining all the times and ways that they have witnessed God's grace in their own lives and in the lives of their family, friends and church members. Though many of them have seen and experienced their own shares of hardships and suffering, they join the psalmist in knowing that God has a plan (Jeremiah 29:11) and that He can and does transform painful situations into something good (Romans 8:28, Genesis 50:20).

Before He ascended to Heaven at the end of His ministry on Earth, Jesus called for his followers to spread the word of God's love and forgiveness across the world. Seniors who share their testimony and the Gospel message give their loved ones and the members of their communities the chance to experience the peace and power of God's salvation for themselves while keeping the command to expand the kingdom of heaven.