Genesis 12:1 Now the Lord said to Abram, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you. 2 I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you, and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. 3 I will bless those who bless you, and the one who curses you I will curse; and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” 4 So Abram went, as the Lord had told him; and Lot went with him. Abram was seventy-five years old when he departed from Haran. 5 Abram took his wife Sarai and his brother’s son Lot, and all the possessions that they had gathered, and the persons whom they had acquired in Haran; and they set forth to go to the land of Canaan.
In Genesis chapter 11 we are told that Abram and his wife Sarai (later to be known as Abraham and Sarah) had no children of their own. We’re also told in our passage (v.4) that Abram was 75 years old when God made an incredible promise:
“Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you. 2 I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you, and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing.“
In essence, God promised that he would give to Abram and Sarai a land of their own to be filled with their descendants – despite the fact they were way past child-bearing age when the promise was extended. This would have been too good to believe for most of us. Yet, Abram and Sarai took God at his word. They left their ancestral home for a place they had never been. They had some detours along the way, but the promises of God were ultimately fulfilled.
I’ll turn 50 years old this year, which seems strange to me. It was just yesterday I was turning 30. Nevertheless, it’s obvious that some of the dreams I had in my early years are not likely to come true. I don’t write this in a sorrowful way, just acknowledging reality.
I remember being an undergraduate college student thinking I would make a career in business – only to become a pastor. I didn’t see that one coming. I remember imagining Jana and I having a large family with perhaps 4-5 kids. We stopped at 3, which is plenty. The Dallas Cowboys racked up three Super Bowl wins in the early 1990’s. They were on such a roll, I thought there would be a half dozen more by now. How wrong I was.
With some dreams, you just run out of time. Or, life takes you on a detour you didn’t see coming. Abram and Sarai were at an age where I’m sure they were learning to make peace with the fact they would never have children of their own. We are told they took their nephew Lot on the journey with them. Lot’s father (Abram’s brother) had died and it appears Abram and Sarai adopted him as their own. Lot was the closest thing they had to a legitimate heir. At least he was related by blood if not an actual son born to them.
But God other plans – despite their advanced age.
I’m guessing that some of you, like me, are on the back half of life. And, if so, you may be learning to make peace with the fact that some of the dreams you once had are not likely to come true. That’s just how life is. However, if the bible teaches us anything, it’s that God has a way of raising up people advanced in age to do great things for his Kingdom.
Abram is a great example of this. So is Moses, who was an older man when God called him to lead his people out of slavery in Egypt. There are others. We are never too old to be used by God. Which leads me to some questions:
(1) What are the dreams you had for your life that are now likely out of reach?
(2) What are some opportunities God has placed before you that you didn’t expect?
(3) What journey is God inviting you into that you’re resisting because you think you’re too old, or too young, or too ________ ?
(4) What would it look like for you to say yes to the journey God has for you in the years you have left?
Heavenly Father, the bible tells us that you have plans for every living person (Jeremiah 29:11). No one is excluded. The bible also shows us how you repeatedly utilize people in their senior years to do your work. Give us grace to say yes to you, dear God, whatever our age. For it is very possible that our best years are yet to come. We ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen.