Getting old is hard. The older we get the more we know this is true. We lose a step, we are less mentally sharp, and we are nostalgic about how things used to be. We can feel the difference between what we once were and what we are now. The clock never stops ticking, and seems to get louder the older we get. But just because it’s hard, doesn’t mean that it’s bad. Psalm 71 reminds us that God is with us from the moment He saves us and we can depend on Him until the end. Psalm 71 reminds us that: the God who called us is the God who will keep us. The psalmist reminds us of this in 4 ways:
God is our REFUGE (vs. 1-4)
A refuge is a strong shelter offering protection from danger. God protects His people that continually come to him from the shame of their sin as well as the dangers of the world. He does this by way of His righteousness; his covenant faithfulness. The problem as we get older is we don’t think we need His protection. The reason we think this is that we have a tendency to think we have it all figured out and no longer need to be protected. This simply isn’t the case. There is always more room for us to grow this side of heaven and therefore a need for this refuge.
2. God is our HOPE (vs. 6-8)
Our circumstances often put our hope to the test, they have a way of robbing us of the hope we have as we move away from God’s safe refuge towards self-reliance. We need to be reminded that God has been our hope since the moment we were saved by His grace. This is the best possible circumstance we can ever find ourselves in. The reason this is so is because God has a plan for your future (Jere. 29:11).
3. God is worthy of PRAISE (vs. 6,8,14, 22-23) and PROCLAMATION (vs. 15-17)
Remember the passion you had for God when you were first converted? Remember how you couldn’t help but praise Him for His awesome goodness and faithfulness? Remember sharing the gospel with everyone you came in contact with? What happened? You forgot and need to be reminded that praising God leads to a deeper, expectant faith; and sharing the good news in a world desperate for it often leads to greater boldness and encouragement. We can praise God, in spite of our circumstances, because of His faithfulness in the past and hope in the future. We can boldly share the gospel where we are at, knowing that the work of making a dead heart alive is in the hands of the only one who can do something about it. We need to be reminded of the importance of singing the praises of our God and King; as well as speaking of His mighty deeds in creation, judgment, and redemption.
4. God makes His PRESENCE (vs. 9-12) felt and keeps His PROMISES (vs. 19-21)
We need to be reminded that God never leaves us or forsakes us (Deut. 31:6-8) and that nothing compares to His promises. When we forget God’s character we are tempted to not trust Him; we know He can do a thing, but don’t believe He will. Because God never leaves us, it’s ok for us to be weak, relying on His strength and mighty power. By focusing on His promises, we find revival unto glory. This is what perseverance looks like.
Getting older is hard but not bad. It reminds us that we are frail. It reminds us that life here is temporal. It points us to God’s righteousness. We need this reminder of who we are in Christ. Being known by God through a lifetime of suffering leads to both worship and witness. These are the signs of a life well lived.