What scares me about growing older

Evan Forester —  August 24, 2015 — Leave a comment

I’ve never really bought into the fear of old age that’s rampant in our culture today. I don’t exactly love the idea of a slower metabolism or bad knees, but I figured it is balanced with an increase in knowledge and wisdom.

If in20years.com is to be believed, I won't go grey! But my face will become increasingly greasy and leathery.

If in20years.com is to be believed, I won’t go grey! But my face will become increasingly greasy and leathery.

But here’s the problem, that increase in knowledge and wisdom is not what I expected. There is this strange dichotomy, and I’m not sure how to handle it. For every one thing I learn, I seem to encounter one hundred new things that I don’t understand!

In a single day, even in a single minute, I can feel both a growing sense of confidence in my newfound abilities and an overwhelming despair at my lack of abilities. This happens to me in all spheres of life: knowledge of God, relationships, business, politics, hobbies, marriage, and the list goes on.

I remember a mentor of mine, Drew, once showed me a pinecone. He said, “you’re a smart guy, you understand things well. But you need to realize something, your understanding is limited to this pinecone. Someday you’ll realize that this pinecone is actually part of a tree, and that tree is part of a forest, and that forest is part of this whole earth.”

I’m just now starting to see what he meant, and it’s a little terrifying. The world used to have simple problems and simple solutions, but now they seem more complex than ever. There are billions of people on Earth, each with a heart that is more complex than I can imagine. As Jeremiah puts it, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?

I’m 29 years old right now, to some that’s young and to others that is old, but supposing good health I’m about a third of the way through life (give or take a few years). If, at 29, I’ve grown this much aware of how small I am in this huge world, where will I stand when I’m 40? 64? 78?

Perhaps I’m getting too philosophical right now (it happens sometimes). But here are two thoughts that have given me comfort this morning:

2 Corinthians 12:9-10 But [the Lord] said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

and

Isaiah 40:28 Do you not know? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom.

Perhaps growing older isn’t such a bad thing. If an increase in knowledge means I will grow to understand my weakness more, then it will only drive me to God more, For His power is made perfect in my weakness.

There is a multitude of verses that discuss the vastness of God’s knowledge, grace, and mercy. As a kid, I used to think we might get bored in Heaven. But now that I am increasingly aware of the vastness of this universe, and the exponentially larger vastness of the God who made it all, I’m quite looking forward to eternity. God simply has so much to offer that we will never come close to boredom.

Your turn: Does anyone else ever experience this collision with their inadequacies?

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Evan Forester

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This post was by Evan, an adventure enthusiast learning to #LiveFully in New Zealand. He now writes for Embracing Exile.