Seasons of Our Faith Day 4 – Winter Wisdom
by Maddie and Ruth McDonald
Wisdom is with the aged, and understanding in length of days. (Job 12:12, ESV)
Winter calls for comfort from the harshness of its cold, blustery days. For some people, they lie buried in snow for most of the season, and for others, it is a nice respite from the warmer fall days. For me, I dream of lazy white snowflakes and a warm sweatshirt, sitting by the fireplace. This is a rarity in the southern state in which I live, but occasionally it happens. Winter also calls for preparation—wisdom in knowing what will be needed during those cold and desolate months.
But when it comes to our faith, the winter season brings wisdom to mind. We think of the elderly as being in their winter season of life, even though we don’t know when we will die and could be in our last season even today. But there is so much to learn from elderly Christians, those who have walked through many decades, gleaning knowledge and understanding throughout their lives.
Most older saints have faced the death of close friends or family members; they have learned how to grieve. Many have learned how to love and care for their families; they have learned how to serve. Others have been there for those who have suffered loss; they have learned how to comfort. There are those who have stepped into the financial difficulties of others, and they have learned how to give. Many have shared the gospel, and they have learned how to witness.
Spending time with the elderly saint is time well spent; there is much we can learn from them. For those who are in the winter season of your faith, your race isn’t fully run; you haven’t yet crossed the finish line. So while you have life, you have purpose. It can be hard at times to relate to the younger generation. Their lives are vastly different from what you are familiar with—and yet they need you.
As an elderly Christian, you likely have time: time to pray for others, time to spend with the younger folks that need a little extra guidance. You have more time to listen, to offer wise counsel, and show compassion for those who have yet to experience many of the things you have already passed through. Don’t lose heart if they don’t always seem to listen; just know that if you listen attentively and with kindness, they will remember that you cared.
You also have much to offer as an older Christian. Your experience and wisdom gained through these experiences is needed. You have a powerful voice to the goodness of God and a testimony to His mercy and grace. You have hopefully garnered the respect of the younger, and have been found to be a safe place to voice thoughts, feelings and concerns. You are needed maybe more than you know. You are not finished, and while God still has you here, there is work to be done for His kingdom.
Perhaps one of the most amazing testimonies of the life of the older Christian is their dedication and faithfulness to the Lord through many years. More often than not, their seats are occupied in church services. They can be seen giving hugs to the hurting, lending money to the younger struggling couple, and sending home-baked cookies to the busy young families. They are often the first to pray for those in need and offer encouragement when difficulties press in on those in their circle. This is such a rewarding testimony, and it leaves an example for us to follow.
For those of us who are younger, show care and respect for those in their winter season. Life is not as easy as it once was. The body begins to slow down and doesn’t cooperate as it once did. They may not feel well and may even feel confused or become grumpy because of their physical limitations. They often have lost a spouse and are lonely, finding themselves with hours and hours alone. They have many needs—especially the need of our care and patient love. There are many references in Scripture of our responsibility to care for the elderly—don’t ignore their needs.
Whether we’re in our winter season or still in the earlier seasons of our faith, may we each keep our focus on God’s purposes for us. As long as we have breath, God plans to use us; whether directly or indirectly, He has work for us to do. Wisdom is so much greater than knowledge; anyone can be knowledgeable, but wisdom is gained through life experiences, and knowing and fearing God. We need the spiritually wise Christian to guide us and instruct us. In what ways can you show appreciation to an elderly saint this week? And if you are the elderly saint, in what ways can you pray or reach out to the younger Christian? Continuing to challenge ourselves in our faith keeps us growing—no matter what season we may be in.
So even to the old age and gray hairs, O God, do not forsake me, until I proclaim your might to another generation, your power to all those to come. (Psalm 71:18, ESV)