“NEVER GROW OLD”
By Wayne S. Walker
[Editor’s note: I wrote this article some twelve or thirteen years ago, around 2001 or so, when our younger son Jeremy was about five. It was posted on the Internet to some e-mail list, but then I lost it. After looking for it since then, I found it not long ago, posted on the website of the Jamestown Church of Christ in Jamestown, IN. Having recently turned sixty, I found the thought even more meaningful. WSW.]
The other day my five-year old son made an interesting comment while I was bending over and drying him off. He said, “Daddy, you have one black hair, but the rest are gray.” Alas, it is true. Even though I have not yet reached the half-century mark, almost all of my hair is gray. Even ten years ago, someone described my hair as “salt and pepper.” Of course, I have earned every one of my gray hairs with hard work, so I am not ashamed of them, but I simply responded by saying, “Well, that just means that I’m growing old.” Then he made an observation that amazed me. He just spoke up and said, “In heaven we won’t grow old.” So I hugged him and told him that this is true.
It is interesting that we spend most of our younger years wishing that we were older and then spend most of our older years wishing that we were younger. I would not for anything want to return to the days of youth because I would have to give up all the blessings that I enjoy now. But occasionally, I think that it would be nice to go back to my childhood even if only for a few moments. And I have an idea that most people, especially as they get older, must have the same feelings from time to time.
The poet [Elizabeth Akers Allen] wrote:
“Backward, turn backward, O Time, in your flight;
Make me a child again, just for tonight.”
Of course, we know that in this life, it is an impossibility. Time always marches forward. However, as Christians, we do have the hope of this happening in the hereafter, in a place where there will be no death (Revelation 21:4).
Why do we die? Besides the fact that God decreed it in the beginning when Adam and Eve sinned, there are physical reasons why we die. For a good number of people, it is because they grow old. The body simply begins to wear out. Growing older is part of the natural process that ultimately leads to death. But if there will be no death in heaven, then there will be no growing old.
Eternally young! Ponce de Leon searched for the fountain of youth. Yet it is not here on earth. It is in heaven. After seeing the effects of aging on his beloved father, James C. Moore wrote:
“I have heard of a land on the far away strand,
‘Tis a beautiful home of the soul;
Built by Jesus on high, where we never shall die,
‘Tis a land where we never grow old.”
Yes, we look beyond this life to that place where we shall never experience all the things that come with aging–the aches and pains of the body, the dulling of the mind–and the (however well-deserved) gray hair. It is something to look forward to.