Do you ever feel too old for your dreams? Like the window of opportunity closed with your last — or last TEN — birthdays?
Bonnie Gray wrote about this last week. Actually, her post was about her book release and how this — the publication of her book — was something that wasn’t supposed to happen. It was something that she didn’t expect because — and here’s the part that spoke to me most — she felt too old to accomplish her dreams. If it were going to happen, it would have happened when she was younger, before she had kids.
I worry the same thoughts, pray the same prayers, try to surrender desires to time and Sovereignty … even those desires I really, really, really want.
Some will condescendingly assure me that I’m so young and that I have plenty of time left, but that never makes me feel better. I know that, at 37, my life is half over. I know that I will never be younger than I am today. And I know that many, many people have achieved far greater success at younger ages and through greater obstacles. So, telling me I’m young, doesn’t help.
What does help is knowing others who started late and persevered.
- Laura Ingalls Wilder, author of the beloved “Little House” series, published her first book at age 64.
- Frank McCourt didn’t start writing until retirement. Angela’s Ashes was published when he was 66.
- Julia Child claimed it took her “40 years to find” her true passion. Then it took another decade for her to master it and find any measurable success. She was 51 when her first cookbook was published.
- Grandma Moses (Anna Mary Robertson Moses) has been called one of the greatest American artists of all time. She didn’t start painting until age 76.
And then there’s Anna, one of my very favorites.
We find her story in Luke 2. Yes, the same Luke 2 that seasoned Christians skim or completely skip because of over-exposure. She only takes up three verses, but there is a lot to see here.
Anna was old and tried. Note I said “TRIED” — not tired. Though she may have been tired, that’s not the point I want to make. This woman had been tested and came out victorious. Her husband lived only 7 years after they married (v. 36). That couldn’t have been easy, especially considering the cultural climate of the times. She had been a widow for 84 years (v. 37). We’re not told how she survived, how she made a living, who cared for her, if anyone at all. We just know she had lived a long life filled with countless and untold obstacles. If we assume she was 13 when she got married (which may be a low estimate), this precious lady was at least 104 years old when we meet her in the Gospel of Luke. And she was still kickin’.
Anna was active. This woman wasn’t sitting around feeling sorry for herself. She didn’t withdraw to a corner of senior citizens and let the whippersnappers tackle the world’s problems. No way! She was a prophetess who served day and night at the temple. She fasted, she prayed, she preached, she praised and she let everyone she met know about Her great God and what He was doing.
Anna was persistent. We may only have three verses that directly deal with Anna, but the beginning of her story ties her to what was mentioned just before: the testimony of Simeon.
Simeon is one of my very favorite Bible characters. He, too, receives very brief attention, but his story is so powerful! In just ten verses (Luke 3:25–35), we meet this man who was righteous, devout, passionate and faithful. More than that, we see how God is faithful to keep His promises.
God had told Simeon through the Holy Spirit that he would not die without seeing the Messiah. We have no idea how old Simeon was, but we know that he waited for the fulfillment of that promise. He waited with great anticipation and God exceeded His expectations .
Neither one of them gave up. Neither one abandoned their posts. They were faithful and persistent to bring God glory.
I want that kind of testimony.
I want to live a long life with countless, even untold obstacles and, when I’m 104, I want to be able to stand in a legacy of faithfulness, fearlessness, purpose and persistence. I want my grandkids and great-grandkids to struggle to keep pace with me.
Here is my encouragement for you and me today: We are never too old to serve God. We’re never too old to chase dreams that bring Him glory. He is so much greater than the facts on our birth certificates.
TALK TO ME: Have you abandoned a dream because you feel you missed the window of opportunity? Is it really closed or do you just imagine it so? What can you do to fully glorify God with your gifts, talents and position?