The Unexpected Frustration of Aging

by Debbie Wilson

Those watching me heave a carry-on suitcase into a plane’s overhead bin wouldn’t believe I was the arm-wrestling champion of our 5th grade class. The legs that earned me a blue ribbon for speed, in my 6th grade, city-wide relay competition, and scaled any tree with ease, almost failed me when I took the second step of a stepladder with no hands.

I am painfully aware I’m no longer fast, strong, or young. What happened?

Aging not only brings limitations, it taps fears when our limbs—and mind—lose the speed and strength we’ve learned to depend on. The recent experience of some friends reminded me that the challenges that unnerve us don’t surprise God. He never leaves us.

My friend’s husband slipped during a vacation and injured his back. Instead of getting better, the pain grew worse. After numerous doctors’ visits and tests, he heard the news no one wants to hear. Cancer. Of the bones. And he needed back surgery.

The surgery left this formerly active husband and father with a back brace and a cane. His wife struggled with responsibilities he’d previously carried with ease. Sometimes the loss of the life they’d taken for granted and the frustration over lack of youthful strength boiled over.

One such day, she fumed to herself and her husband as she hurled boxes that contained a lifetime of accumulated junk and memories into the dumpster at the local junk yard. “Why didn’t we prepare for old age before it was so hard?”

In her rant, her keys sailed with her belongings into the huge dumpster. Suddenly my friend’s frustration turned to desperation—and then to God. “Lord, forgive me for complaining. Please have mercy and rescue my keys!”

Halfway down, the keys dangled from protruding trash. She asked two burly men, “Please, would you crawl in and rescue my keys?”

One man fished out a long pole with an attached magnet and snagged the keys. “No problem.”

Has weakness, frustration, or lack of planning dropped you into the middle of a mess? Have your limits or those of someone you love raised fears for the future? We can’t predict or prepare for everything. But we can take refuge in the One who cares enough to rescue even lost keys, for He has promised:

Even to your old age and gray hairs; I am he, 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” (Is. 46:4 NIV).

Lord Jesus, thank You for Your many promises. I choose to trust you to rescue me in my stumbles and carry me when I can’t walk. Amen.

This article is brought to you by the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association (AWSA).

About the author: Debbie W. Wilson is an ordinary woman with an extraordinary God. Drawing from her personal walk with Christ, twenty-four years as a Christian counselor, and decades as a Bible teacher, Debbie writes and speaks to connect sojourners to the heart of Christ. She and her husband Larry founded Lighthouse Ministries, a nonprofit ministry offering life and relationship counseling and Bible studies. Despite time in Boston, the Midwest, and Southern California, she still says y’all. Her family, which includes two mischievous standard poodles, calls North Carolina home. Find free resources to refresh your faith and connect with Debbie at debbieWwilson.com.

Join the conversation: What fears do you have about aging?

5 thoughts on “The Unexpected Frustration of Aging

  1. I too find things I used to do but now can’t or shouldn’t do. I still operate a sheep farm and need to routinely lift 50 pounds or more and do other demanding tasks. As I have been self-employed most of my life and it is only me, I also worry about having enough money to live. I GREATLY appreciate your reminder from God.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Marilyn, I love that promise in Isaiah and the one at the end of Ps. 23. Surely goodness and mercy will follow me ALL the days of my life. Your story reminds me of Lisa Carter’s book Falling Leaves where an older widow needs help on her apple farm and a young man needs a job out of the fray. They are a gift to each other. Maybe part of our time in heaven will be spent watching God’s amazing provisions for His children. Look forward to hearing how He meets your need! Ephesians 3:20.

      Like

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