“MY HEALTH problems get in my way more and more,” sighs Ernst, who is in his 70’s.* Does this sound familiar? If you are getting older and feel that you are losing your health and strength, you may well relate to the description found in Ecclesiastes chapter 12. In verse 1, the days of old age are called “the days of distress,” or “the calamitous days,” ftn. Even so, you are not doomed to a life of misery. You can still lead a fulfilling life, serving Jehovah joyfully.
MAINTAINING STRONG FAITH
You dear older brothers and sisters are not alone in your trials. Aged servants of Jehovah in Bible times faced similar challenges. For example, Isaac, Jacob, and Ahijah lost their eyesight. (Gen. 27:1; 48:10; 1 Ki. 14:4) Sarah felt “worn out.” (Gen. 18:11, 12) King David “could not get warm.” (1 Ki. 1:1) Wealthy Barzillai could no longer enjoy the taste of food or the sounds of music. (2 Sam. 19:32-35) Abraham and Naomi each had to cope with the loss of a marriage mate.—Gen. 23:1, 2; Ruth 1:3, 12.
What helped each of these to remain loyal to Jehovah and maintain joy? In his old age, believing in God’s promise, Abraham “became powerful by his faith.” (Rom. 4:19, 20) We too need strong faith. Such faith does not depend on our age, abilities, or circumstances. For example, even when he was weak, blind, and bedridden, the patriarch Jacob showed strong faith in God’s promises. (Gen. 48:1-4, 10; Heb. 11:21) Today, 93-year-old Ines suffers from a muscle weakness, but still she says: “Every day I feel richly rewarded by Jehovah. Every day I think about Paradise. That gives me hope.” What a fine, positive spirit!
We strengthen our faith by praying, examining God’s Word, and attending Christian meetings. The aged prophet Daniel regularly prayed three times a day and kept studying God’s Word. (Dan. 6:10; 9:2) The elderly widow Anna “was never missing from the temple.” (Luke 2:36, 37) When you attend meetings whenever possible and participate as much as you can, you refresh not only yourself but all in attendance. And Jehovah always delights in your prayers, even if you are limited in what you can do.—Prov. 15:8.
Many of you faithful ones would love to be able to see to read and to be strong enough to attend meetings, but you find it increasingly difficult, perhaps impossible. What then? Make good use of whatever is available to you. Many who cannot attend meetings enjoy listening in by telephone. Despite failing eyesight, 79-year-old Inge prepares for meetings using computer printouts with extra-large type provided for her by a brother in the congregation.
It may be that you have something that others would like to have—time. Why not use it to listen to recordings of the Bible and Bible literature, talks, and audio dramas? Also, you may want to take the initiative to telephone fellow believers to share a spiritual gift and enjoy “an interchange of encouragement.”—Rom. 1:11, 12.
STAYING ACTIVE IN GOD’S SERVICE
“It is terrible to become less active than you once were,” bemoans Christa, who is in her mid-80’s. How, then, can elderly ones keep their joy? “By having a positive outlook,” says 75-year-old Peter, “not constantly thinking about what you can no longer do but enjoying what you can do.”
Can you think of avenues of witnessing still open to you? Heidi cannot go from door to door as she used to. Well into her 80’s, she learned to use a computer to write letters. Some older publishers start Bible discussions while sitting on a park bench or at a bus stop. Or if you now live in a nursing facility, could you possibly have your own “territory” with the medical personnel caring for you and with the other residents there?
In his later years, King David eagerly promoted pure worship. He donated funds and organized support for the construction of a temple. (1 Chron. 28:11–29:5) Similarly, you can take an active interest in what is going on in the Kingdom work worldwide. Why not support the pioneers or other zealous publishers in your congregation with encouraging words, a small gift, or some simple refreshments? In your prayers, you might include the young ones and the families, the full-time servants, the sick ones, and those with heavy responsibilities.
You and your service are highly esteemed. Our heavenly Father will never discard you dear elderly ones. (Ps. 71:9) Jehovah loves and cherishes you. Soon, we will all keep advancing in age without any agonizing distress or calamity. Rather, full of energy and in perfect health, we will continue serving our loving God, Jehovah, for all eternity!
Some names have been changed.