7 Aspects of Our Lives That Defeat “Father Time”

7 Ways We Defeat “Father Time” in Our Lives

For nearly 30 years, our former pastor served our church with dedication. Aside from his passion for woodworking, he was devoted to every aspect of our church. There was an annual bonding between the two roughly five months before VBS started. Every year, he’d put in countless hours in his workshop, carving out parts for the kids’ Bible School birdhouses. His son told me, years before his death, that it broke his heart to see his father’s tired hands try to sand and cut pieces of wood down to the correct size and smoothness. What he could formerly perform in his sleep now took him a lot of effort and time. His kid shared with me that he was tempted to grab the piece of wood out of his hands and do it for him in order to speed up the process, and I’ll never forget that. He stopped himself and remembered that those same hands had been kind to him when he was a kid. We need to take stock of the people in our congregations, families, and in the mirror. Hands are becoming increasingly shaky, grey hairs are replacing brown ones, and wrinkles are becoming more prominent. Unfortunately, many of us have lost the ability to accomplish the things we previously took for granted due to advancing age. When an athlete unexpectedly loses his or her form after several stellar seasons, Charles Barkley is quick to remind everyone that “Father Time is undefeated.”

At Gilgal, Caleb addressed Joshua and the children of Judah in a testimonial speech recorded in Joshua 14:6-12. To “see the country, what it is; and the people that dwell therein, whether they be strong or weak, few or numerous,” Moses had dispatched spies from Kadeshbarnea into the “promised land” decades previously. Scripture reference: Numbers 13:16-18 Only Caleb and Joshua had faith that the Lord would ultimately help Israel defeat its adversaries and take possession of the country. Caleb “stilled the people before Moses, and said, let us go up at once, and possess it; for we are well equipped to overcome it.” When we consider the reasons for Caleb’s departure, we see that his strong desire to obey lasted throughout his life. What parts of our life do we manage to conquer Father Time in, as we become older and as the demographics of our churches shift?

The Unwavering Power of Our Witness

Although our physical abilities, like as speaking or writing, may decline with age, our testimony should only grow more powerful. God’s faithfulness and care for us are marked by several mileposts over the course of our lives. These signs will be things like the arrival of healthy kids, recovery from illness, divine intervention at times of perplexity, and “winks” from God that only we will recognize. The witness of a young convert does not have the same staying power. At 85 years old, Caleb reflected on the profound impact the Lord’s word had on his life when he was 40. After 45 years, Caleb said in verse 11: “Yet I am as strong this day as I was in the day that Moses sent me: as my strength was then, even so is my strength today.” Caleb experienced God’s favor in various ways throughout his 45 years on earth. Healing, fortitude, and success were all gifts from him.

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God’s Unchanging Loyalty

Because of our strong witness and unwavering trust in the Lord’s name, we are confident that He will sustain those who serve Him in obedience and in His name, no matter their age. In Joshua 14:12, Caleb responded, “Give me this mountain,” certain that “if the Lord is with me, then I shall be able to drive them out, as the Lord prophesied.” His guarantees and assurances were still in effect. David wrote in Psalm 105:8 that God “hath remembered his covenant eternally, the word which he commanded to a thousand generations,” alluding to the great covenant made to Abraham and the chosen race. With the new covenant spoken of prophetically in Jeremiah 31:31-33, the Lord has made an even greater promise. As Jeremiah prophesied, the Lord “will place [His] law in their internal parts, and record it in their hearts” under the new covenant. The ancient covenant did not provide any means of redemption that might effect change from inside. That “he which have began a good work in you will perform it unto the day of Jesus Christ,” Paul wrote with assurance in Philippians 1:6. He has not abandoned us; rather, He has more in store for us. Still, there remain mountains awaiting our conquest.

The Yearning Is Still Real

Caleb received God’s favor because he “wholly followed” the Lord. After the other spies gave up on the Israelites after seeing the country for themselves, Caleb “wholly followed the Lord.” But Caleb “wholly obeyed the Lord,” even if his “brethren that went up with [him] made the heart of the people melt.” Thus, Moses justified Caleb’s land grant by saying, “since thou hast totally served the Lord.” “bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come,” Paul wrote to the young preacher in 1 Timothy 4:8.

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Timothy should not interpret God’s words as a rejection of the health benefits of a healthy diet and regular physical activity. Unfortunately, “profiteth little” because we are all inevitably aging and eventually passing away. Attempting to circumvent the rules will lead to failure. There is no upper age restriction or upper limit on physical strength when it comes to having a heart that desires to be obedient unto the Lord under the leadership of the Holy Spirit. Obedience is vital to the well-being of our spirits. As Christians, we should make Bible study, meditation, prayer, and worship a daily part of our routine. Godliness and “wholly following” the Lord are still useful and desirable even in our golden years of retirement from earth.

Resilience in the Face of Adversity

Caleb boasts that he is fit for battle in verse 11. Not only does he trust in the Lord’s protection, but he also believes he can “return [back] in” from the battlefield victorious. A central tenet of our belief is the assurance of a “return.” It was only by the strength bestowed upon Him by His Father in heaven that our Lord and Savior was able to return from His triumphant struggle with death, hell, and the grave and assume His rightful place on the throne of heaven. The Christian soldier is also guaranteed the ability to “enter in.” He equips us for combat and sends us out into a dark world to share the good news of Jesus Christ’s salvation. Just as the apostles died for the cause of Christ on the cross, so do modern-day missionaries. Coming in doesn’t necessarily mean making it back to base unscathed.

The Holy Spirit came upon Stephen while he was being stoned (Acts 7:55-60), and he “saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God.” Our hope rests on this promise, and our “coming in” will be the day we finally get to spend eternity in the presence of our heavenly Father in all His majesty. This is evidence of God’s steadfastness, compassion, and provision.

Strength

No matter how old we are or how long we’ve been serving the Lord, we should always have a hunger to learn more and grow in our devotion to Him. Elderly people are typically portrayed as having “lost their filter” and saying whatever is on their mind. As we grow in our faith, may we have this kind of confidence. Since he is still strong, Caleb says in verse 12: “Now, therefore, give me this mountain, whereof the Lord spake in that day; for thou heardest in that day how the Anakims were there, and that the cities were great and fenced: if so be the Lord will be with me, then I shall be able to drive them out, as the Lord said.” An overwhelming need to wrap up loose ends plagued him. No matter how old or how disabled we are, we are never able to stop serving the kingdom.

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The people of God were commanded to be “extremely brave” from 1:7 all the way to Joshua 23:6. The Holy Spirit equips believers with the right kind of courage they’ll need to face life’s challenges. This assurance that the Lord will always be with us as our source of strength is cause for tremendous celebration. Eventually, we shall be able to say, “O death, where is thy sting?” since “death is swallowed up in triumph.” Where is thy triumph, o tomb?

Value to the Family

The spiritual vitality of our families depends on the examples set by our matriarchs and patriarchs. In 15:13–14, Caleb bravely expelled the three sons of Anak from Hebron. Then he made the following promise: “To the man who strikes down Kirjathsepher and captures it, I will give Achsah, my daughter, in marriage.” This prompted Caleb’s nephew, Othniel, to take appropriate action. Achsah was given to Othniel, and she was granted a parcel of property that had a supply of natural springs. The strength of character displayed by Caleb was not lost on his loved ones. In addition, we learn that Othniel was obedient to the Lord and served as the first judge in the book of Judges. Our communities of faith take note of our steadfastness in Christ and take heart from it.

He Is Always There to Provide

God does not only provide us His grace and compassion to achieve salvation and then sit back and let us “run out the clock” of our existence. Caleb realized he can always rely on God’s provision. He knew that the Lord had preserved his life and that He would also fulfill His promise to him. Commenting on Joshua, Alexander Maclaren wrote, “the present installment carries with it the pledge of the full discharge of the obligation, and he whose heart and hope is fixed with a forward look on the divine inheritance, may, as he looks backward over all the years, see clearly in them one unbroken mass of preserving providences.” Caleb was given the gift of long life and the ability to keep the land. The everyday success of the one fueled the fire of his trust in the success of the other, as described by Maclaren.

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