Old Age and Victory
By Virginia Brandt Berg
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Someone said to me the other day, “Why do you so often tell your age?” Well, I think it’s so wonderful how the Lord has led and how He has kept me through so many years! Yes, I say it again—I’m in my 80th year!
I like to shout it from the housetops, because it does glorify the Lord and what He has done. It’s such a miracle, when I was such a pitiful invalid in bed for about five years—and then you think of my broken back and all that happened to me—and here the Lord has led me all this time so wonderfully!
I wouldn’t fear old age if I were you. Some of you are so fearful and think that old age brings all sorts of troubles and inconveniences and is so miserable. My life has been gloriously adventurous, and I would say excitingly wonderful as a Christian, unbelievably victorious at times, through the Lord Jesus Christ.
But I do confess that without the Lord, it would have been tediously humdrum and filled with disappointments and failures. I’ve talked to so many people who are haunted by a sense of futility, and they’re restless and have an unnamed hunger because they don’t have the Lord and they don’t have real faith in God.
I wonder how many older people you know among your associates who have radiant, joyful faces? So many faces of the old people that you pass by on the street are fear-ridden and unhappy, and the reason for that is their lack of faith in God. They don’t have an anchor in the time of storm; they don’t have the Lord to trust in. So there isn’t joy upon their faces because the joy isn’t in their hearts.
I think I told you once about what Gypsy Smith1 said. He talked about a dear old saint of God, a dear old mother in Israel who he had had fellowship with in the Lord. He said that Jesus just shone out on her face, that her face was like “an old cathedral lighted up for evening worship.”
Sometimes we meet some old folks who are like that. They have such trust in God and they testify to the wonderful victories along the way and their experiences in life. It’s because they have believed the Lord. They say, “‘He is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear?’ I don’t even fear the years! ‘The Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?’”2
Come what may, I’m in God’s hands. He’s a loving Father, and I know that all things will work together for good to them that love God.3 What a glorious promise to live by! It’s like Raymond Richey4 used to say: “It just gets gooder and gooder all the time.”
I found this little poem, which truly I would say is my testimony:
I’m not looking for the sunset,
As the swift years come and go.
I’m looking for the sunrise
And the golden morning glow,
Where the light of heaven’s glory
Will break forth upon my sight
In the land that knows no sunset,
Nor the darkness of the night.
I’m not going down the pathway
Toward the setting of the sun
Where the shadows ever deepen
When the day at last is done.
I’m walking up the hillside
Where the sunshine lights the way
To the glory of the sunrise
Of God’s never-ending day.
I’m not going down, but upward,
And the path is never dim,
For the day grows ever brighter
As I journey on with Him.
My eyes are on the hilltops
Waiting for the sun to rise,
Waiting for His invitation
To the home beyond the skies.
—A. S. Reitz, 1953
Oh, it’s so wonderful to be a Christian! Jesus talked about faith and chided the people of His day for having so little faith.5 Sometimes we see how fearful people are and how they even fear the years that are coming upon them. Why, God doesn’t change with the years! The Lord is just the same and His promises are just as true. His Word is just as much for one who is old as for one who is young. He remains ever the same.6
Some people are so worried about the cares of life, and Jesus spoke and said, “O ye of little faith, your Father knows you have need of these things.”7 Now when the years come upon you, He’ll know what your needs are just the same as when you were young and full of life and vitality. None of God’s promises have changed at all. “If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth”8 works just as well at 80 as it did at 18!
Jesus was surprised at the remarkable faith of foreigners like the Roman centurion or the woman of Syrophoenicia, when His own people had so little faith.9 I’m amazed sometimes at the lack of faith I meet amongst dear ones who have been Christians for so long.
In times of supreme test, God has revealed Himself, and I find Him so real that I can shout with absolute confidence, “I know in whom I have believed.”10 In sudden emergencies, in prolonged trials, He so fulfills His Word and the promise that says, “For He hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what men shall do unto me.”11
“I will not fear” is a declaration of confidence. Then comes this question: What shall man do unto me? “If God be for us, who can be against us?”12
So, in sudden emergencies and trials that are sometimes prolonged, He fulfills His promises just the same as He did in your youthful days. I will not fail thee in old age, He is saying.13 If you are in the midst of great stress, do not lose courage. He says, “I’ll not in any wise forsake thee.” And He means it for you!
That’s the God that we know, that we have proven year after year under all conditions. He’s standing ready at this moment to meet you in any trial that you’re passing through. Those of you who at this moment feel you can go no further unless your loads are lightened or you can feel God’s healing touch upon your sick body, this is for you. God is faithful. “In thy manifold mercies thou forsakest me not.”14
No matter what your age, no matter what the trouble, the Lord is concerned about you at this very moment. You are the one He’s longing to reach. “Come unto me, all ye that are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”15 You are in His care at this moment.
Dear Jesus, bless and comfort and answer prayer. Thank You, Father God. Amen.
From a transcript of a Meditation Moments broadcast, adapted. Published on Anchor June 2020. Read by Carol Andrews.
1 Rodney (Gypsy) Smith, 1860–1947, was born in a tent, raised in a Gypsy camp, and never attended a school, yet he influenced the lives of millions of people for God through his powerful preaching.
2 Psalm 27:1.
3 Romans 8:28.
4 Raymond T. Richey (1893–1968) was a famous healing evangelist. It is believed that more than one million people responded to his calls for salvation or healing over the lifetime of his ministry.
5 Matthew 6:30.
6 Hebrews 13:8.
7 Matthew 6:30–32.
8 Mark 9:23.
9 Matthew 8:5–10; Mark 7:26–29.
10 2 Timothy 1:12.
11 Hebrew 13:5–6.
12 Romans 8:31.
13 Isaiah 46:4.
14 Nehemiah 9:19.
15 Matthew 11:28.