On highway 421 south, there is a curve at a bridge as you are nearing Sanford, NC. As you get into that curve, you can see to the left, just below the road, Bethany Baptist Church.
For seven years my wife Vicky and I, along with our kids, lived in Kentucky. Each Christmas and summer vacation we would travel the 500 or so miles back to Sanford to visit our families. The trip was a long one, taking nine or ten hours depending on stops and traffic. Our daughter is named Bethany, so it was a special sign to us every time we approached that curve and saw that church – Bethany Baptist. We’re almost home.
Every morning now, I wake up and my back hurts. Some mornings it is worse than others. Sometimes it is so stiff that my first few steps out of bed are hunched over. If I travel and sleep in a strange bed, it can be better or much worse.
A stiff back in the morning is one of the signs that sometimes comes with age. Fortunately not everyone has it. And mine is not very severe. Within a few minutes I am usually pain free. But my back did not hurt every morning when I was younger.
They say that getting older is not for sissies. I am often amazed at the way older adults that I know are dealing with multiple health and mobility problems. But they are often doing so with amazing grace and humor.
Pain and loss of independence are stressful conditions. We should not dismiss the aches and pains of older friends and family. But as you experience the aches and stiffness of aging for yourselves, try to remember this. Those aches and pains are a signpost.
We don’t like to think about or talk about the fact that we will die one day. It’s natural to feel some sadness and fear as we contemplate our own deaths. But we should also remember that God has promised us an eternal blessing in His own house if we are in Christ. Aging is a signpost, not of death, but of heavenly glory with God.
So I’ll try to remember this morning as I awake, that my stiff back is a sign along the journey of my life. I am getting closer to being home, my real home, forever with God.
Love in Christ,
Pastor, Rocky River Baptist Church