Summary: Senior Adult Sunday 1989: God wants to bless us in our senior years and to give us "laughter". He can work through our mistakes and even make those into blessings. From crosses He makes resurrections.
As they passed through the middle age years and headed for senior status, they took some measures to make sure that those years would be manageable years.
They took stock of their finances, for example, and made sure that there would be enough for everyday life and for at least a few emergencies. It only seemed prudent once you were past all the business of educating the children and paying off the mortgage to see to it that something was set aside so that if your health broke you would not be a burden on somebody else.
They got their home all fixed up too ... made sure that everything was in good repair, got it all simplified so that it would not be hard to take care of if they should get a little slow in these older years. After all, they had spent many years doing all their own work and sort of patching things together, just to get by, and now it seemed right to spend a little extra, invest a little more and get that home to the point where it was easy to live in.
Other things were done to insure a comfortable, quiet time. They still had family to deal with, but the family was on its own now, and that's the way they wanted it. The nice thing about grandchildren is that you can enjoy them until they need feeding or changing or spanking, and then it's somebody else's problem.
Everything was ready for a fine, quiet, fulfilling, peaceful, restful retirement. And then it happened. Then it all busted loose.
"When Abram was ninety-nine years old the Lord appeared and said to him, 'You shall be the father of a multitude of nations ... No longer shall your name be Abram, exalted father, but your name shall be Abraham, father of a multitude … I will make you exceedingly fruitful ... I will give you to all the land of Canaan … and as for Sarai your wife, Sarah shall be her name, and I will give you a son by her and she shall be the mother of nations."
Ninety-nine years old, enjoying getting up late and going to sleep early, and you are going to have a son. Sarah, ninety years old, barely willing to fix her husband a sandwich, and now going to have a baby to look after. How ridiculous! What a crazy business! Lord, you’ve go to be kidding. And the Bible says that Abraham fell on his face and laughed and said, "Shall a child be born to a man who is a hundred years old? Shall Sarah, who is ninety years old, bear a child?" Lord, you've got to be kidding, and it's not only that it isn't biologically possible, it's just not what I had in mind. Lord, this is some kind of joke, isn't it?
I guess it's a good thing that Abraham could laugh, and a couple of chapters later it says that Sarah also laughed about this whole business. In fact the son who was born was named Isaac, and Isaac means laughter. A good thing they could both laugh and take it in stride, because it seems like a real intrusion, doesn't it? Here they had a quiet peaceful few years all mapped out and now this. Diapers at age 100; and how would like to be paying college tuition when you are 120?
But I want you to notice that God speaks of all this as a blessing and as a delight. God says, look Abraham, I've saved the best until last, and through this son of yours I am going to bless the whole world. Through this Isaac, this laughter boy, I am going to give you a multitude of descendants and I am going to make a great nation. Abraham, the best is yet to be, the best is yet to be. You think you've lived your life out, but you don't understand. I am not finished with you yet, the best is yet to be.
The poet Robert Browning offers us this way of understanding God's provision for our senior years. In his poem Rabbi Ben Ezra Browning says, "Grow old along with me; the best is yet to be; the last of life, for which the first was made; our times are in His hand, who saith, 'A while I planned; Youth shows but half; trust God, see all, nor be afraid'"
The best is yet to be … you see, our God still has more up his sleeve for us. Our God always has something more for us to do, and it may well be that despite our feeling that our powers are diminishing, despite our sense that we are a little tired and run down, God may yet have our best years and our best work ahead of us.