“As for the days of our life, they contain 70 years, or if due to strength, 80 years.”-Psalm 90:10
I really never thought that I would reach 70 years old. Not that I would die before reaching 70, but rather that I would stay perpetually young. So my mind is in denial, although my body says otherwise. But I am not grieving 70; I am celebrating 70. A lot of great people have died before 70 years old—Oswald Chambers, David Brainerd, A.W. Tozer, Jonathan Edwards. I need to live much, much longer in order to accomplish just a fraction of what they did for the Lord in their lifetime.
I still have a long way to go. I am more and more aware of my shortcomings as I get older. I have looked to my mentors through the years to speak into my life, but it is hard to find a mentor when you are 70. Most of my past mentors have gone to be with the Lord or are in feeble health. But I continue to press on for the prize of the upward calling of God in Christ Jesus (Philippians 3:14).
I was diagnosed with 3rd stage rectal cancer when I was 55. I did not know whether I would live or die. So I prayed, “Lord, am I going to live or die?” I heard the Lord say, just as real as if it were audible, “You are not going to be a cancer survivor.” I said, “O Lord, that means I am going to die!” The Lord said, “No, listen closely, you are not going to be a cancer survivor; you are going to be a cancer overcomer!” I claimed that word from the Lord, and 30+ more years to serve Him. When they opened me up and took out the cancerous tissue, they could find no cancer. I was healed. I am not a cancer survivor; I am a cancer overcomer. I was ready to die then, but I am ready to live now.
I was called to preach at the age of 12 and I will continue to preach and to teach and to write as long as the Lord gives me mind and strength. John Wesley preached until 3 months before his death at 89. Billy Graham and Oral Roberts preached into their 90s. My father’s pastor is still pastoring at 80. I had hoped to do that as well, but circumstances have not worked out to do that at this point.
My father-in-law was not a preacher, but he lived to be 100, golfed until he was 95, drove until 98. I think I will aim high, but I will be satisfied to fulfill my days, however long or short. In the words of Oliver Cromwell and Charles Spurgeon, “A man is immortal until his work is done.” I want to finish well.