Vision that Improves with Age

May 1, 2023

Midlife is more than men buying new cars and women bemoaning the state of their necks. It’s more than changing seasons and personal reinventions. It’s the shocking, God-ordained smack of reality that lets us know life is brief and we were made for something more. That’s a really good thing. Just as our physical vision is waning, our spiritual vision is improving. 

Do you find yourself disappointed that you’ve experienced so few adventures and joys as the years speed by? In life’s library of opportunities, maybe you’ve only had the opportunity to check out two or three items when there are so many you’d hoped to enjoy. Maybe you haven’t started the business or had the family or taken the trip or bought the home. Or maybe you have, and those experiences haven’t delivered. You’re not alone. Even U2’s Bono, the musical superstar who has tasted many of the world’s pleasures, sings of not finding what he’s looking for, and the song resonates with millions. Earthly joys don’t last, and the aging process is a faithful, if unwelcome, reminder. 

At creation, God implanted within each of us a spirit made in his image and fashioned for eternity. It desires more than earth offers: more love, more pleasure, more knowledge, more vision, more beauty, more depth, more time, more of it all. It tastes the goodness given, but it’s never quite enough. And that’s a little bit sad. 

But which would we prefer: to be satisfied here on this little planet, happily munching nothing more than a few bites of fleeting pleasure or to live a bit hungrily here, all the while anticipating an eternity of soul-filling pleasure? I’ll pick the latter, even though my soul rumbles with a few temporary pangs and my neck looks weird. 

God tells us that our light and momentary afflictions are “preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison” (2 Corinthians 4:17). It’s a glory so far above the sunsets, the holiday dinners, the peaks of delight we experience, that they can’t even be used as weak comparisons. It’s that far beyond.

God also tells us that he’s preparing a place for us and will bring us there to be with him in the place we truly belong (John 14:2-3). 

These are the promises of salvation. We’ll finally be full, stuffed with a healthy, lasting joy. But what do we do in the meantime, in these 70+ years if we’re lucky? Here are five suggestions:

  • Befriend melancholy and unfulfilled dreams as trusty reminders of the world (and the One) you were made for. 
  • Let the promise of eternity’s joy free you to work hard at your earthly assignments. The temporal perks you forego won’t even qualify as crumbs at the table of heaven. 
  • Embrace aging. Delight in it. Laugh at it. As Paul said, “To live is Christ, to die is gain.” You’re that much closer to the goal. 
  • Walk closely with Jesus, the joy of heaven and earth. Loving him here will fill your heart even fuller when you love him rightly there. 
  • Pray through the disappointments, telling God that you “count everything as loss compared to the surpassing worth of knowing Christ” (Philippians 3:8). In comparison to his relationship with Jesus, Paul calls the world’s pleasures rubbish. Trash. What you sacrifice in obedience to Christ is likened to an old chicken bone—not much to give up in light of getting Jesus. 

Our Lord will never disappoint us, no matter how demoralizing these short years can feel. The promise keeper will be more than we can imagine. Even better than receiving new bodies, our souls, with a mighty stretch, will be filled to bursting with all that we long for, which is really Christ himself. 

To live is Christ, so let’s do it wholeheartedly. But growing closer to the end is only gain. Let’s do that wholeheartedly as well.

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