Engaging views and analysis from outside contributors on the issues affecting society and faith today.

CP VOICES do not necessarily reflect the views of The Christian Post. Opinions expressed are solely those of the author(s).

Biblical principles for joyful aging (part 2)

Unsplash/diana spatariu
Unsplash/diana spatariu

The higher we go in time and space, the more and better we can see.

The metaphor for aging we use here is that of going up a mountain, “Mount Hoary.”

In the Bible, “hoary” is the gray-white hair that stands for wisdom, experience, respect, and honor, to name a few.

Get Our Latest News for FREE

Subscribe to get daily/weekly email with the top stories (plus special offers!) from The Christian Post. Be the first to know.

The higher we go in that journey up the mountain, the more we can make sense of things because we can see where we have been and also where we are going ultimately, depending on our “entanglement” in Christ.

God reminds us in the Scriptures that growing old is an honor to be respected: “Gray hair is a crown of glory; it is found in the way of righteousness,” says Proverbs 16:31.       

God’s assurance to the “hoary-headed” is stated beautifully in Isaiah 46, where the Lord promises, “I will be the same until your old age, and I will bear you up when you turn gray. I have made you, and I will carry and rescue you.”

Dr. Otis Graf understands the meaning of the heights of literal space profoundly. Otis holds a Ph.D. in aerospace engineering and has played an important role in the U.S. space program. I had the privilege in Houston of serving as Otis’ pastor. He is a strong man of God and was not surprised or ashamed when astronaut Frank Borman, on December 24, 1968, read from the Bible when he could see Earth from the perspective of the moon. Otis, like others, was moved by the contrasts between the serenity of the heavens and the chaos back on earth in that year of riot and violence.

Otis was also moved by what happened in Mission Control back in Houston as Borman read the Scripture. Many of the technicians began to weep softly, and then openly.

“The long-term accomplishment of Borman’s Christmas message was that, once and for all, it defeated — for that moment anyway — political propaganda and aggression,” Otis told me.

He was struck by the contrast between the Bible words coming from Frank Borman, and the views of Soviet cosmonaut and atheist Yuri Gagarin and his co-pilot, Gherman Titov, who spoke their own words from their high perch in space: They said that they had not found God up there and announced that they believed only in man.

Both Borman and the Russians spoke from literal space, but the contrast proves that no matter how high one goes in the universe or the heights of age and time, without faith they will miss the accurate big view.

It is through that Spirit-given perspective of the whole that we can discern what is real and what is not … what is important and what is not.

As we ascend the mount of time — Mount Hoary — we will miss the awe (as Gargarin and Titov did) and the understanding of the motives that push us to empty space, or that which manifests the glory of God and what is truly important in our lives.

One should get the Hoary perspective, the biblical view, early in the process of aging, and not wait until “old age.”

Among other lessons, the view from God’s perspective will enable us to recognize the differences between mere happiness and true joy. These factors often define the values by which we try to live our lives, raise our families, and do our work.

If happiness is our aim in life, we are as blind to what really matters as Gargarin and Titov were spiritually. Thus, it’s important when we climb Mount Hoary to see the differences between mere happiness and true joy. Here are a few:

Happiness is contingent, based on what is happening around us, but Joy is continual, based on what is happening within us.

The object of joy is Jesus, the Christ, made manifest to us by the Holy Spirit and the Word of God. The object of happiness is feeling good in body and soul.

Happiness sometimes sweeps upon us and dwells on the surfaces of life and experience, but joy flows in like a refreshing rain and establishes and cultivates strong nurturing roots within our whole being.

Happiness is existential, depending on outward conditions and circumstances, but Joy is a state of eternal being.

Happiness is an occasional, or episodic high … it comes and goes, and depends on the soulish function of emotion.

Joy is a matter of the healthy interaction of spirit and soul. As we grow older it is more important than ever to resist the temptations of the flesh and mere happiness and lay hold of the greater and enduring joy of life in the spirit.

Hardly any words describe this as eloquently and truthfully as those by the Apostle Paul when he declared toward the end of his ascension of Mount Hoary: “I have fought the good fight, I have ‘finished’ (in the sense of achieving a goal or purpose) the course, I have kept the faith … In the future there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness,  which the Lord, the righteous judge will award to me on that day; and not only to me, but to all who have loved His appearing (2 Timothy 4:7-8).

On your climb up Mount Hoary, above all else, keep your eyes on Jesus. This I have learned for 81 years on the slopes of Mount Hoary.

May you be blessed on your ascension up its slopes.

Wallace B. Henley is a former pastor, daily newspaper editor, White House and Congressional aide. He served 18 years as a teaching pastor at Houston's Second Baptist Church. Henley is author or co-author of more than 25 books, including God and Churchill, co-authored with Sir Winston Churchill's great grandson, Jonathan Sandys. Henley's latest  book is Who will rule the coming 'gods'? The looming  spiritual crisis of artificial intelligence.

Was this article helpful?

Help keep The Christian Post free for everyone.

By making a recurring donation or a one-time donation of any amount, you're helping to keep CP's articles free and accessible for everyone.

We’re sorry to hear that.

Hope you’ll give us another try and check out some other articles. Return to homepage.

Most Popular

More In Opinion