“Our natural, earthly lives don’t in themselves lead us by their very nature
into the kingdom of God.  Our very nature is to die…..”
(I Corinthians 15:50)

In retrospect, at some point a person finally realizes that their summit was reached many years before, that
they have been all the way up to the top of their life and are on the downward slope.  The energy level has
decreased and the medical issues can in some cases be serious.  Getting up in age is not for weaklings.  
Sure, there are happy trails ahead - traveling as long as the body will allow it, festivities with family and
friends, and a more decisive outlook on practically everything from politics to the environment.  About the
only news that comes from our high school graduating classes are updated reports about who has just
passed away.  And each time we think to ourselves that he or she was too young to die.  What I also notice
is that the one thing which becomes stronger, more defining, more important, is one’s faith.  

It’s that time in life when so many peers have either already died or are approaching death, and the Christian
is faced with the dilemma of faith, whether to embrace it and give a serious try, or ignore the whole thing and
hope for the best.  We either look back and dwell on the past, recalling old friends and pleasant experiences
and losing one’s self in a fantasy world, or to set all that aside for what it’s worth and to look Heavenward.  
This is the final horizon.  We’ve already changed our eating habits, followed doctors’ orders to a reasonable
degree, done what we can to keep the body in shape, the same body which once played sports and could
hold its own with the best of them, and we’ve done what we can to enhance our appearance.  

So what’s so good or bad about aging?  Aging isn’t something we came up with.  It’s God’s idea.  Blame it on
Him.  Have you ever wondered why huge parcels of perfectly good land are deliberately set on fire?  Well,
it seems that the earth’s ecosystems welcome the plan because new growth is accelerated as the carbon
dioxide becomes a fertilizer.  In Florida there are species of native plants which have seed structures which
will not open without the help of the intensity of heat which is seldom satisfied without a fire.  With that
completed, in no time the whole area is blooming again and looks healthier than ever.  When flowers like the
dandelions die they don’t do it without leaving seeds flying around in the breeze, and their legacy is multiplied
as the wind disperses them at will.  In nature, there are tens of thousands of examples of things which must
die in order to evolve.  

So why should it be any different with us?  God’s plan is brilliant beyond our imaginations, and perfect in
every way.  Our bodies peak and then begin to wither just like the beautiful flowers.  Beginning with Romans
8:18 and reading forward, it is clear that all of creation, not just humans, is to wait in joyful anticipation for the
transformation which is to come, the dying of the old which will blossom into the new.  Our difficulties,
the physical and psychological pains which we endure, are temporary, for the soul within us will be
everlasting and neither restricted nor subject to death.  

The closer we are to dying, the more important it is that we understand that in the eternal kingdom which lies
ahead there will be no more pain, no physical death.  Dependence upon the Holy Spirit within us, teaching
and guiding us, is of utmost priority.  The Holy Spirit can even pray for us when we don’t know what to say,
when we feel totally inadequate.  It’s okay.  That’s what God intends.  Total reliance upon Him in every way
is what God desires most.  It’s an intimacy.  It doesn’t make us weak, it makes us strong.