Sore back muscles.
An arm that feels like it will fall out if its socket.
Muscles on my hand that I didn’t even know I had letting me know they, in fact, do exist, and are sending my brain painful throbs every few seconds as a reminder.
Was I mugged and left for dead? Did I go through boot camp for the Marines? Did I fall from a three-story building onto a pile of rocks and get steamrolled?
I laced up my athletic shoes to play my favorite sport—dodgeball—for the first time in years.
Part of my brother’s bachelor party included a trip to a trampoline park with a few amazing (and amazingly humbling) rounds of trampoline dodgeball. And I must say, it’s incredible how your brain can still tell you have the cat-like speed and agility of a teenager, while your whole body displays a very different reality.
I’m in my late twenties and don’t want to pretend like I have a lot to complain about in terms of getting old—I don’t (yet). But bouncing on trampolines and playing dodgeball against a bunch of young-ins (and getting destroyed!) reminded me how I’m not what I once was—(sorta) athletic.
After hobbling off the trampoline (and gobbling up my piece of proverbial humble pie), but I began to think about getting old and how I’ve just begun to descend the slippery and ever-more-rapidly-descending slope of aging.
No, I don’t yearn for a fountain of youth. What I do yearn for is truth— validation that getting old and not being what you used to be is, well, OK. My mind went to the words of Paul to the Corinthians:
So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. (2 Corinthians 4:16)
The discouragement from the downward slope of a body wasting away is countered by the comfort in knowing that our inner selves are going a different direction. Being renewed day by day means getting older comes with benefits.
Looking back at where I have come since I left my physical “prime”, I notice that I have grown deeper in my knowledge and love for Christ, my love for others and the desire to see souls saved, my desire to bless His church with the gifts He has given me, and my ability to withstand temptation by the Spirit’s power.
This isn’t to brag at my “advanced levels” of sanctification (we all still have a long way to go), but it is to joyfully reflect on what God does over time through His Word, His people, and His church over years of my life.
When I think about all of the things I can’t do anymore physically, I can rejoice in what God has done in me spiritually by His grace.
And even though I feel like my dodgeball nickname should be “Ichabod” (meaning “the glory has departed”), I can rest assured in Christ that the true glory is yet to come.
Because of that, I can rejoice that as I getting older, I can look back and say, “Yeah, I am not the same—and that’s great.”