The Big 50—Sober Birthday Reflections

The Big 50—Sober Birthday Reflections March 10, 2014

Spending one’s 50th birthday weekend on one’s back in bed as I did can be quite a sobering thing (it had nothing to do with drinking). I came down sick Saturday afternoon after returning home from speaking at a writers conference. Perhaps I had burned the candle on both ends for weeks on end. Exhaustion has a way of getting to you. Instead of writing a birthday poem or counting candles on my cake on Sunday, I tried numbering my days so that I might grow in gaining a heart of wisdom.

The Psalmist prays, “So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom” (Psalm 90:12; ESV). The Psalmist reflects upon our mortality in view of God’s immortality. We decay and wither and return to dust (Psalm 90:2-6). It is inevitable; it will happen no matter how much time we spend in the gym trying to get in shape. Even though I will lose all those pounds in the end when I die, the news about my mortality won’t stop the spam emails on weight loss from appearing in my inbox. How did the spam conspirators even know of my struggle? Soon I should be receiving related emails on hair dye and possibly even hair loss.

Fixation with old age can lead one to panic and turn one into a fool. So, as I grow older, I need to ask myself: will I grow wiser? Wisdom in Christ guards one from becoming an old fool who clutches life like Gollum clutches the ring in The Lord of the Rings. A holy fool approaches all of life with an open hand. He or she knows one’s life is in God’s hands and that God alone can establish the work of one’s hands: “Let the favor of the Lord our God be upon us, and establish the work of our hands upon us; yes, establish the work of our hands!” (Psalm 90:17; ESV)

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