St. John in his first letter writes to different people. Here are his quotes:
¥ “I write to you, dear children, because your sins have been forgiven.”
¥ “I write to you, fathers, because you have known him from the beginning.”
¥ “I write to you, young men, because you have overcome the evil one.”
I would like to add another one: I write to you, grandma and grandpa, because our fear of what will happen tomorrow prevents us from enjoying today. God has showered our lives with great blessings. Many of us have been blessed with wonderful spouses. We have walked hand in hand through the years with those spouses. We laughed together and cried together. We worried when there was not enough money to pay all of the bills, and we rejoiced as our financial condition improved so that we not only had the necessities of life, but also many luxuries, like a nice home with appliances to make life easier and travel, which broadened our outlook on life. We could turn to our spouse to receive encouragement, counsel, and even rebuke when needed. We experienced what love was all about with our spouse.
From our marriages have come children. We laugh now when we think of the anxious times those children might have given us, like when it was two hours after their curfew and they weren’t home yet. They had some problems growing up, and at times you might have been concerned about their relationship with God. Now they are older and show their love and concern for you. When they were children, they amused you with their cute words and actions and made you proud with their accomplishments in school. Now they give you a sense of knowing that, when you need them, they will be there in a minute.
Our lives are enriched by friends. We travel to spend a weekend with friends who meant much to us in our growing-up years. Those college friends will always remain precious to us. There are those friends who live in our town and add a new dimension to our lives. How do you beat a friend like Virginia, who comes every morning for four years to walk her friend Eunice, who is disabled as the result of a stroke? We find friends who help us enjoy the weddings of our children and grieve with us when sadness breaks into our family.
Our daily work brought new challenges and joy to our years. Now we sit back and think of all the experiences related to our labor that have enriched our lives. We may have had some discouraging days, but we also experienced many success stories when we felt we were making a contribution to society. Now some of these blessings are being taken from us in our retirement.
Our spouse dies and we experience long, lonesome hours. How we wish we could have another chat. No one can take their place.
Our health weakens. The body is wearing out and the memory is not what it once was. Our children now live miles from us. Their phone calls are appreciated, and we see each other a couple of times a year, but it is not like when they were living in the same house, or even in the same town.
Our friends die. We read the obituary columns only to learn another person we have enjoyed through the years has passed away. We no longer go to work, and the retirement years that we looked forward to are not quite what we expected them to be. Yet we know we do not have physical strength to do the job that was once ours.
We look at our finances and wonder if we will have enough money to care for ourselves, especially if we have to move to a nursing home and face a bill of several thousand dollars each month.
Let’s face it, old age can be frightening. It was for the Psalmist, and so he prayed, “Do not cast me away when I am old; do not forsake me when my strength is gone” (Psalm 71:9).
God speaks to us in our fears. Hear His promise: “Even to your old age and gray hairs I am he who will sustain you. I have made you, and I will carry you. I will sustain you and I will rescue you” (Isaiah 46:4). God is not telling us that frightening experiences will not come our way. But He is assuring us that he will be with us through all of them.
Often His blessings come to us directly. At other times he uses people to shower His blessings on us. I marvel at our health care centers. Once was a time when those nursing homes were not nice places to live. I recall visiting an elderly gentleman in one of these homes. It was about 4 p.m. as I sat beside him in his room, which had a strong odor of urine. A young person brought his supper. Not wanting to disturb his evening meal, I said it was time for me to leave. The old man pleaded with me to stay. “I would rather visit with you than eat this food. The toasted cheese sandwich is cold, and my milk is warm.” I didn’t enjoy my own dinner that evening as the old man kept popping up in my thoughts.
This is not the situation in many nursing homes today. I detect no odors, and the food is tasty and well served. I believe God has placed the need for care facilities on the hearts of His people, and the Church has done an excellent job in responding to these needs. One of my greatest satisfactions is to know that our congregation played a major role in building such a health care center where over 200 people are physically, mentally, and spiritually cared for on a daily basis.
While some of our family no longer live next door, and many of our friends have died, we still find many who come to us in times of need. God uses these people to put his everlasting arms around us and assure us that he has not forsaken us.
The great message is this: When our days on earth are over, there awaits a heavenly home where, together with our brothers and sisters in Christ Jesus we will see our Savior face to face and live with Him forever.
The period of time before a major event in our lives can be a little frightening. The athlete, the musician, the speaker, and many others are just a bit tense before the game, concert, or service is to begin.
So it is with life. Our big event is leaving this world and, as one of my friends used to say, “crossing over to the other side.” What it will be like is a mystery. However, Jesus assures us that all is well, and as much as we are enjoying this life, it will be a day of victory to lay down our earthly possessions and enter God’s Kingdom forever. So God says, I write to you, grandma and grandpa. Cast all of your cares on me, for I care for you. Enjoy the day, for you are my child, and I hold you in the palm of my hand.