How old is old?
When my husband and I were teaching nursing students, we did an experiment.
We asked each student to write two numbers on a piece of paper without identifying themselves.
One number was their age. The other number was the age at which they considered someone old. We left the room and the papers were placed on our desk. So we did not know whose answer we were reading.
All of our students identified someone 20 or more years older than they as “old.”
We had one 80 year old student, who was taking our nurse aid class just to learn more about how to take care of her older husband at home. Since she was quite a bit older than our typical student, her paper was easy to identify, even without a name. Since she was more than 20 years older than we were, of course, we considered her old.
We could hardly wait to see what she would say. Quite predictably, her answer followed her classmates. She thought anyone over one hundred would be old.
Age is just a number, but it is a relative number. The baby, who died at two days old, was old when he was one day old. The child who died at seven was old when he was six. The man who died at age 99 in fact was young when he was in his seventies.
Can a person die before their time? No. Can we do anything that will lengthen the number of days God has ordained for us to spend on earth? No. Can we do things that will affect the quality of the time we spend on earth? Absolutely yes.
Satan knows he cannot create life and he cannot terminate it. In fact, a sick, defeated Christian is of more value to him than a dead one.
So we should strive to care for our bodies God has graciously given us for our time on earth. But we should also seek not to be preoccupied with hanging on to it for the time we define as a good lifetime.
In Psalm 139:16, David says, “All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.”
As recorded in Job, 14:5, “A person’s days are determined; you have decreed the number of his months and have set limits he cannot exceed.”
We can rest easy in the knowledge that in whatever form we live, we live with our Creator, who will always provide a Home for us.
“Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”
How old are we? Ageless. Timeless. Forever young in God’s Time.
“But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day.”
2 Peter 3:8