Proverbs 19:20-21 (NKJV)
Listen to counsel and receive instruction, that you may be wise in your latter days. There are many plans in a man’s heart, nevertheless the Lord’s counsel—that will stand.
The big 5-0 is finally here. Would it be safe to say that I am entering my latter days? The reality of it truly hit me last night at my surprise party. My husband and children along with sweet friends managed to pull one over on me. They really did an amazing job. So well, in fact, that I think I must keep a closer eye on all of them in the future. The reality of it all came last night looking at the beautiful birthday cake that turned out to be divine. Getting ready for everyone to sing the “Happy Birthday” song, I read the message on lavish icing. “Happy 50th Lori!” I am not senile or suffering from any form of dementia. I did not forget the day or my age. But in that moment, it all became real. I am fifty years old. How did it happen? Where did half a century go? What will I do with the rest of my days? My thoughts were drowned out by several renditions of well wishes. My ponderings tucked away in my fully overflowing heart. Until today…as I begin the latter days.
Lord, let me be wise in my latter days. Who has regrets about the past? Who has ever looked back at years squandering hoping for restoration? Time is the most precious commodity that we are given. Once a moment passes, it cannot be regained or relived. This makes it valuable and worthwhile. Listen to counsel and receive instruction. No longer a child yearning for freedom, I have freedom in Jesus Christ. This is a beautiful freedom hard won and everlasting. Jesus paid the ultimate sacrifice for my life. In Him is the counsel and instruction that I need to be wise in my latter days. Lord, give me wisdom in each step and revelation in each breath. Let knowledge of you blossom and bloom into a deeper relationship with you. Jesus, help me to enter the promise of latter days today and every day for the rest of my life.
Job 42:11-12 (NKJV)
Then all his brothers, all his sisters, and all those who had been his acquaintances before, came to him and ate food with him in his house; and they consoled him and comforted him for all the adversity that the Lord had brought upon him. Each one gave him a piece of silver and each a ring of gold. Now the Lord blessed the latter days of Job more than his beginning…
Job 42:16-17 (NKJV)
After this Job lived one hundred and forty years, and saw his children and grandchildren for four generations. So Job died, old and full of days.
What have I learned in all these years? The Lord is good. He is worthy of my praise. He is a good, good Father just like the song says. His Grace is more than sufficient for me. I am weak but He is strong. I have felt the peace that passes all understanding and the inexpressible joy that cannot be explained. I found these golden nuggets of wisdom in the rough terrain of life. Whether I was struggling up the rough side of a mountain or crawling through the valley, the Lord has been with me. Life is hard. People change. Nothing in life is dependable but my God is faithful. Tomorrow is certainly not promised so we must live out each day. I have discovered that most of the “majors” really are minors vying for too much time and attention. The good do die young. Not every story has a happy ending. There is heartache in every happy ending. Experience is the very best teacher and it is okay to taste and see that the Lord is good. I could keep on with these bits and pieces of revelation but the truth is that each one applies to me and my understanding of life.
Life is filled with ups and downs – days we do and days we don’t understand the Plan and Will o God but must choose to remain in His Love. There is a harvest of hope that comes from great hardship. I have desired wisdom that comes in waiting even though I have never been a proponent of patience. Job endured a great hardship in his life losing everything of earthly value in a single day. The “things” that made him successful in man’s eyes quickly evaporated with the breath of each messenger. What did Job say? “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return there. The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; Blessed be the Name of the Lord!” Today, it is my sound conviction and active confession that “blessed be the Name of the Lord forever.” The Word of God tells us that Job lived a long life, upon his departure that he was old and full of days. Filled to the uttermost is how I like to think of it. The Lord produced double for his trouble and it was according to God’s Glorious Standard right down to the details including things like his daughters being the most beautiful in the land. God fulfilled His Promise and Prophecy over Job’s life.
Job 8:5-7 (NKJV)
If you would earnestly seek God and make your supplication to the Almighty, if you were pure and upright, surely now He would awake for you, and prosper your rightful dwelling place. Though your beginning was small, yet your latter end would increase abundantly.
As I read this today, something inside my heart grabbed hold as if reading my own diary written before time began. The words of Bildad the Shuhite to his good friend, Job. His friends were convinced that Job had sinned against the Lord inviting wrath to destroy his life. Not the case at all, but rather God’s Plan painfully yet beautifully unfolding like the wings of a butterfly set free from the cocoon. I believe that Bildad’s words are prophetic to Job and even whisper now to my own heart. The message is simple and clear as I prepare to step into my latter days of life.
Seek God more earnestly than ever before. Pray more. I need to pray first. I need to pray often. I must not stop praying until I receive answers. Be pure. Take everything I know about the Lord and how I apply it to my life and run it through the Word of God one more time. Compare my life to His Example to imitate God more and the world less. I need to wake up and take notice that while I am not getting any younger – Jesus is definitely moving closer and coming sooner. I bloom where I am planted. Going after God is not a forward propelling motion but a deeply rooted love that is not moved in stormy weather and does not dry up in the midst of famine. Why? What’s the point? I’m over the hill. My life is halfway over. My youth is in the past. Not exactly.
Today, I hear these words so clearly. “Though your beginning was small, yet your latter end would increase abundantly.” It took 50 years for the Lord to mold and shape me for the days called latter. The harvest of hope that comes after long periods of waiting are just within my reach if I continue to lay hold of Jesus. Ecclesiastes 7:8 tells us that “the end of a thing is better than it’s beginning.” Just as Bildad prophesied his friend’s future, the Lord is speaking to me… or maybe to us that it is time to end starting and stopping. Stop excusing our youth, living in the past and forgetting about the future. Those who endure to the end are saved. The Lord has declared the former things from the beginning. (Isaiah 46:10) It is time to take hold of each promise and bind it to our life as a reminder that the best is yet to come. As we ready in Job 42, Job lived a full life. The best is yet to come.
I Corinthians 13:9-13 (NKJV)
For we know in part and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect has come, then that which is in part will be done away. When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things. For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known. And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.
I have lived long enough to see that good things really do come to those who wait. Well placed expectation mixed with patience and perseverance pays off in prosperity and the fulfillment of God’s Promises. Looking back over the last fifty years at least as far as I can remember, I have felt this nudging in my heart that constantly keeps me on the verge of the sentiment that “there must be more to life than this”. This has been the drive of most of my spiritual walk. My salvation must produce more than I can see. My hope is just the tip of the iceberg. Hidden beneath is the magnitude of God’s Love for me. Every promise for my life is “yes” and “amen” in Christ Jesus. Not a single one has passed or is forgotten just waiting for its proper place in time.
I guess now would be as good a time as any to put away childish things, unimportant endeavors, and emotional interludes to take hold of God’s Plan and Purpose for my life. I believe that God is not only good but that He is good to me. He loves me. He would never set me up to fail. His Hope never ever leads to disappointment. Lord, thank you for your promises today every single one. The ones that I can see and the ones that will be coming. Let faith lead me into a future of boundless expectation and limitless purpose just because I believe. Nothing is ever wasted. God let all the seeds planted in my life give way to an abundant harvest. I know that I am stepping into my latter days. Thank you Lord! I see how far we have come together. Bind me to Your Side, humble me at Your Feet, keep my hand upon Your Heart and may my feet fall in step with You, God. Let me put away childish things for clearly I am no longer a child. Lord, let my life be so covered in love that all others see is You, Jesus. This best is yet to come. It is the latter days.
Ecclesiastes 3:11-13 (NKJV)
He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also He has put eternity in their hearts, except that no one can find out the work that God does from beginning to end. I know that nothing is better for them than to rejoice, and to do good in their lives, and also that every man should eat and drink and enjoy the good of all his labor—it is the gift of God.