Out of Years. Naomi had reached a bitter time in her life. Too old to bear children and with no sons to carry on the family name, she encouraged her daughters-in-law to return to their country so that they might remarry among their people and have children.
9 The Lord grant that
you may find rest, each in the house of her husband.”
So she kissed them, and they lifted up their voices and wept. 10 And they said to her, “Surely we will return with you to your people.”
11 But Naomi said, “Turn back, my daughters; why will you go with me? Are there still sons in my womb, that they may be your husbands? 12 Turn back, my daughters, go—for I am too old to have a husband. If I should say I have hope, if I should have a husband tonight and should also bear sons, 13 would you wait for them till they were grown? Would you restrain yourselves from having husbands? No, my daughters; for it grieves me very much for your sakes that the hand of the Lord has gone out against me!”
Ruth 1:9-13, NKJV
Age is an interesting thing, is it not? In our youth, though we know it is not true, we can never imagine becoming old. In our early adulthood, we shudder at the thought of turning forty and do not even try to imagine being any older. In our fifties, our body begins to tell us that it is not as young as it used to be. However, the greatest “surprise” of all is waking up one day and discovering that we are in our mid-sixties—old enough to be retired. As a matter of fact, in the eyes of everyone else, we are a senior citizen!
That is exactly where Naomi found herself. She planned to go back to her home country and relatives to live out the rest of her days in sadness and grief. With no children or grandchildren, life seemed bleak! The years of happiness she had hoped for had eluded her.
How does God view us when we are senior citizens? Is our service to God done? Is He ready to “put us out to pasture.” Retirement is a rather elusive time, but nowhere in the Bible does God speak of a time in our life when we are too old or too infirm to be of service to Him. While it is true that our daily life may in no way resemble the lives we lived in our youth, God uses us just the way we are. As a matter of fact, even our later years and the circumstances of them—good health or bad—have been ordained for us by God even before time began.
My sister-in-law lingered for several months in a coma until God took her home to be with Him. What of that time in her life? When I visited her in the nursing home, I was so uplifted by the cards and notes taped all over her walls. I realized that even though she could not speak, and probably did not even know I was there, her Christian testimony spoke volumes through the cards and letters posted all over her room.
Naomi saw only sad sadness and grief in her future, but we know the rest of the story. We know that, in God’s providence, she had some very happy years coming. Not only would God bless her with a grandchild, but that child would be the grandfather of King David, perhaps the greatest of the kings of Israel.
Let us, especially if we find ourselves out of years, take courage in the understanding that we are servants of God. Even in our later years, there is much we can do to advance God’s kingdom here on earth. That is why we are here. When our service for Him is done, and only then, He will take us home to be with Him forever.
Go today, whatever your age may be, and live this day for the honor and glory of God, alone!