Ever have an idea or vision that returns to you even if you’ve tossed the notion away? Has your spirit longed for something to the point of aching, an inner stirring, a restlessness, yet there are things present in your life that seem to block a single step forward? Maybe because of circumstances, you’ve accepted your current situation, tried to settle and forget about the vision and scrape it off the table, but the idea keeps coming back and coming back. Either by a subtle reminder, a tap on the shoulder, or a persistent nagging, recurring theme, or spurring revival of imagination and desire. Maybe the vision is huge, crazy, preposterous, or impossible. Perhaps that longing in your spirit is the prophetic call of the Lord on your life, awaiting fulfillment. Longing is our heart crying out for God and his purposes. And God does nothing half-baked. Sometimes we have to endure the process of his putting a unique assembly of ingredients together, kneading and shaping of the dough, waiting for the yeast to rise, and baking—not to perfection, rather, to the perfect time of readiness. This is us as we are put together, pressed and worked, to rise above, and bide our time in his kiln for the feast.
You’re called to a particular vision, a specific spiritual task if, after you’ve perceived it, you let it go, but it doesn’t let go of you. And you’re just peculiar, crazy, or credulous enough to believe in the vision, even if it seems impossible. God gets all the glory when it’s something only God can do. Even those who have been quiet and painstakingly baking, the Holy Spirit is calling you out of the shadows into the season of no more delay. Because in our minds, we can think things are delayed, but God is never late. At some point, by the Lord’s directive, our anticipated tomorrow will be today. From restless me to restless you, “Are you called, too?”
Have you noticed how many people, especially aging people, like to talk about their aches, pains and physical problems? Sometimes there’s even a little pride like comparing heroic war wounds or something: “You think that’s bad? Well, get a load of this,” kind of exchange, as a person proceeds to pull up a pant leg and roll down a sock for the big reveal. As I age, the more I hear such things, have taken part of such things, and yet depart from these discussions less cheerfully. If you haven’t known an individual, or clusters of acquaintances complaining about health issues, you’ll most likely see plenty of posts and pictures on social media. There’s also the constant campaign of ads and commercials on medications. I think it’s safe to say there’s brokenness in our society over health, but the overwhelming need to chew over conditions without end can be equally draining.
I’m not referring to the serious diseases and terminal illnesses, afflictions and real medical emergencies that require our understanding and compassion, and that can also expand our testimonies. I mean the day-to-day discussions that seem to vie for center stage when they don’t need to and probably shouldn’t. Maybe it’s not you doing the talking, but you’d lived with a hypochondriac, or worked with a malingerer, for years; that can be its own sort of burden. The negative concentration after a great length of time can be a real drag, when everything about a person, or that comes out of their mouth, is about their ailments, mild, moderate, or imaginary. It's like a verbal mountain of affliction, and you’re caught on its strange and precarious ledge between feeling numb and hypersensitive. Whether it’s you or someone else, aside from trying to fix sincere problems or addressing them with prayer, dwelling on them can be a thought ravager and praise stealer.
God is a healer and restorer. He also desires our focus and attention. I’m not in denial that with aging comes decaying; this curse came with the Fall, our own undoing, that we all must endure. But it’s come to the forefront of how much I don’t want to focus on the process of pains but on praise. A small example would be if someone asked me how my day was going, and I answered, “Well, I got this pain in my hip, and when I move my wrist this way it pops, and I didn’t sleep very well last night…” and then junk is on the table. I don’t want to behave that way. Even if I’m hurting, I want to suck it up, work through it if I can, and not spread the psychological residue, the “crown” of physical discomfort. Instead, have an answer ready on my lips, “My day is good because God is good all the time. Praise the Lord. How are YOU?” Or “I’m still kickin’, thank the Lord–and thanks for asking! How’s YOUR day going?” I don’t want to whittle an opportunity to brighten someone else’s day by dwelling on problems, especially my problems. And if I need prayer, then why not just ask for it, then move on with thankfulness? Some days, I have a spring in my step. Some days, eh, not so much. I am learning the fine line between when to ask for (or offer) prayer and keep quiet being careful not to complain.
So when I’ve caught myself lately near joining the valetudinarian collective (such as beginning my last blog by explaining my recent bouts, and longing for my slipped youth), I hear the Lord say, “Stop. In your weakness, I am made strong,” with emphasis on WHO is made strong. The next time I’m feeling blue about getting older and dealing with aged issues (could be again tomorrow!)—the magic word, “Stop,” is followed by “Praise you, Lord. Prepare me for the best years of my life!” And also, to take special care to reporting glorious healings and answered prayers!
If you are upwards of age 50, I hope you embrace words of praise over pain. It’s okay to ask for prayer; we’re supposed to support each other and give good ear to listen with compassion and kindness. Give and receive. But at certain points, we might do well to fine-tune our focus, redirecting our thoughts from our bodies to Jehovah Rapha, the Lord who Heals. This is one I’ve heard a thousand times, but it never gets old: let go and let God. From the heart, out of the mouth, may we strive to put the Lord first in all things and linger there.
And this concludes my two- day/blog posts on age and body. I’m moving on.
“Why art thou cast down, O my soul? And why art thou disquieted within me? Hope thou in God, for I shall yet praise Him, who is the health of my countenance and my God.”–Psalm 42:11
I’d had good luck in health without so much as a cold in a very long time. I guess you can say viral villains caught up to me in September when I got the flu followed by Covid. Knocked me off my feet. At one point I straggled to a mirror for a look-see, and muttered, “Aw, snap, this ain’t pretty.” At 52, I’m showing my age, and it’s not only when I’m sick. I got to thinking about these things while I was down. Although I stay active, I’ve learned I’m not as spry as I used to be. I used to be physically strong (for a five-feet-three-inch female, anyway), now I’m not as strong. I used to be limber, now I’m not. I’m the same person, just older, grayer, softer, rounder; and I’m tested with an old back injury.
Not for the faint of heart, yet it happens to all of us, aging. Gloom threatened to set in during my September stint; or you could call it fatigue, frustration, gut-punch, whatever. My thoughts drifted toward how my youth was disappearing; the best years have gone. But I got an instant rebuke from the Lord, who said, “No, the best years are yet to come, they are just ahead of you! Have you forgotten what I’ve promised you?” I had in that moment. “Your latter days will be better than your prior days, for I have a job for you to do—the biggest yet—and I will not only give you what you need and more, renewing your strength, increasing your joys, but I will excessively restore what the enemy has stolen in past years and seasons. I have so many gifts in store for you!” He also made a point of saying, “Let me remind you that this word is not just for you.” I had a hunch, because he often reminds me, so I’m sharing.
Psalm 103:5 came to mind, “Who satisfies your years with good things, so that your youth is renewed like the eagle.”
I pondered on the themes and attributes of the eagle. Eagles are resilient, fearless, have keen eyesight, long lifespans, are strong and majestic, faithful, nurturing; represented in scripture to symbolize the righteous, rejuvenation, divine promises, vision, leadership, and more.
Here’s another more renown verse (Isaiah 40:29-31): “He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”
While we’re at it, I read a few others dealing with the aged and aging. I’m sure there are exhaustive Bible studies on elders, purpose, and hot ministry. Because even if our bodies rebel here and there, or on some days everywhere, if you’re called, HE covers. Age is just a number, and God’s vision is eternal.
Ruth 4:15: “He will renew your life and sustain you in your old age.”
Job 42:12: “The Lord blessed the latter part of Job’s life more than the former part.”
Deuteronomy 34:7: “Moses was a hundred and twenty years old when he died, yet his eyes were not weak nor his strength gone.”
Hosea 2:15: “There I will give her back her vineyards, and will make the Valley of Achor [trouble] a door of hope. There she will respond [sing] as in the days of her youth, as in the day she came up out of Egypt.”
Joel 2:28: “And afterward, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams…”
The future isn’t just for the young and swift, not in God’s eyes. The future is for the aged, as well. Many are called. I believe we are approaching another, and maybe the last, Great Harvest, and the righteous of the Lord doing his work include on-their-toes happy elders: Yes, Sir! Yes, Ma’am!
Tomorrow, I plan on posting another age- and health-related blog. I hope you come back to check it out. In the meantime, fly like an eagle.
Sometimes, we need to step out of our own peripheries to see that there are other things that matter and other people who matter more. It’s estimated that 90% of global goods are transported by sea. I was one of those who relied on the shipping industry for just about everything, yet hadn’t considered the human beings behind the vital vein we all depend on; the largely unseen individuals who toil hard and sacrifice greatly at mentally and physically taxing, and often spiritually challenging, high-risk jobs on ships at sea.
When this book, The Seafarer’s Mind: The Questions I’ve Always Wanted to Ask, popped up out of nowhere as I was busy doing something else, I glimpsed at the cover and knew I was meant to read it before understanding the context. Then I found the words inside gave deeper insight, as well as affirmed what the Lord had already spoken to me.
I am not a seafarer, but I am an intercessor, and many months ago, the Lord asked me to commit to praying and fasting for seafarers, as one part of a three-strand cord of intercession. At first, it seemed like a strange request from the Lord for little ole me in landlocked Tennessee, who has always feared water, to venture into my “prayer closet” for seafarers. But I didn’t question the assignment for long; the persuasion was strong. Besides, the Lord asks for obedience often when the big picture is not clear or understood. At the surface, with human eyes, my prayer cord doesn’t look as if the strands are related, and yet the Lord keeps assuring that they are connected, and I have to trust.
The aforementioned book is expertly crafted for the sake of seafarers. The impassioned testimonies are inspiring, the resources offer help and support for various challenges that many seafarers face. So if you work in the maritime industry, The Seafarer’s Mind is truly an anointed aid for thriving in your environment. And if you’re in a landbound profession, this is an expander of knowledge and understanding; should be read by all lest we forget the largely unseen individuals on whom we depend.
I’ve found that there is very little literature in the way of ministry to seafarers, and I appreciate this author, Rev. Martin Otto, who helped fill a gap. So I went on a recent binge-reading journey, as I felt like I was meant to read all of the following titles. The Lord asked me to be still, draw in, and absorb highlights of the seafaring world. I gained some clarity into visions I’d seen and dreams through which the Lord had already spoken. Sometimes what doesn’t have shape, form, or sense in the beginning, if you focus on God, filling your mind on things above, and with a heart full of lovingkindness and thanksgiving, eventually the fog will dissipate and you see what you before couldn’t; and comprehend what made little sense. And then sometimes, it’s a crash-course in faith-building, to believe though we can’t see.
As I am learning about and appreciating the crucial international community of mariners and their families, praying for their spiritual edification and encouragement, I’m also praying for those serving at ports in missions to seafarers, an area of ministry that still needs expanded.
Back at the start of this segment of my intercession, the Holy Spirit impressed upon me that there are individuals who the Lord has planted a seed for specific ministry that is emerging from the oceans. Where cultural background, work experiences, and particular exposures lend to a uniqueness of testimony only God could orchestrate and use—for all things work together for good (Romans 8:28). But the devil has been especially hard on these ones in the past season, trying to trip up and discourage to thwart the call and birthing of ministry in service to others upon and between the waters. In some cases, mistakes in the flesh-vs-spirit barrages have almost caused a giving-up, a falsity propounding disqualification. The only perfection any of us has is Jesus’ perfection within us; we are holy as he is holy within us. Works and/or clean behavior can’t save us, but Jesus, who unconditionally loves us and by his grace forgives seventy times seven (Matthew 18:21-22), each day renewed, can. We can do all things through Christ who strengthens us (Philippians 4:13). We fall down; we get back up. Even when circumstances feel overwhelming, there are people who are praying, lifting weary arms like Aaron and Hur to Moses (Exodus 17:10-13). Appointed to pray healing and strengthening words, to intercede, instill hope and encouragement, stand as watchmen on the walls, and help battle principalities and strongholds. A company of Christians you’ve never met are called to your cause; I’m only one in the appointed mix. And an invisible force of angels has been assigned to your spiritual welfare to help carry you through your life’s purpose.
So this blog today is more than another book review, but these titles are spurring standouts. There is much to embrace within the pages. I highly recommend each one.
We can settle in a place of peace, regardless of what’s going on around us. It might be our nature to desire delineations, even if we dive deep in the Spirit. We might want to see above the surface, or how far to the floor. We might yearn for a glimpse of what’s around or ahead of us. We think we need explanations. Lines and restrictions can give a sense of security… or control. But what if God is asking us to abide in the depths of his fathomless grace? To just linger in his presence, in stillness, even if it’s dark and we can’t see as far as our own hands in front of us? To truly, wholly, trust in him, his mercy--just trust. A hurricane can rip over the surface and destroy everything in its path; impacting everything as we know it; perhaps ridding the familiar or comfortable. But in trusting him, in letting go and allowing him to sweep through our circumstances, our lives, our hearts; we can all the while abide in the depth of his peace, in calm. We can remain in an immovable space, a divine place; one of intimacy and confidence in the God of Glory who speaks to the storms. Instead of the storms threatening to destroy us, we watch them as they shift and scream away at his whisper. All that’s left is what was there all along. Peace, calm, assurance. To trust at a place in the present, where neither height nor depth nor anything can separate us from his love (Romans 8:39). May you abide in his immeasurable peace.
is a storyteller, and a transcript editor. She's also a Romans 8:28 kind of Jewish girl ...