Beginning March 2, 2014 no new posts. Please use the Archive and Topical listings.


If you would like to receive a weekly e-mail reminder of each new post e-mail your request to:

You may also contact me at the above e-mail address with any comments or questions that you may have regarding any post. Please indicate that your comments are confidential and they will not be shared on the blog site.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Retirement or Refinement

“For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD,
“plans to prosper you and not to harm you,
plans to give you hope and a future.”
Jeremiah 29:11 NIV

Today I am thinking about what a comfort Jeremiah 29:11 is for those of us who are referred to as seniors. We often purchase plaques or cards with this verse written on it to give to young adults who are graduating, and going off to college or starting a new phase of their life. But the gray haired seniors are also in need of these encouraging words from the book of Jeremiah. However, if you are not a senior, please keep reading because today's message has words of encouragement for you as well.

Many people look forward to, yet dread retirement all in the same breath. Sometimes retirement brings disappointments because we are not busy enough or unexpected responsibilities restrict us from doing what we had hoped to do during our retirement. I am finding that as my lifestyle is changing becoming a senior is not such a bad thing. In many circumstances age can actually be my friend. I have found that some of the things that I used to worry about just aren’t that important anymore. An experienced mind is a good thing. A forgetful mind is a problem! For the most part I view this ageing process as just another bridge to cross over. In a way this is my “Autumn Glory!”

Rocking chair retirement is not for me but having a chance to slow down enough for God to begin the work of refinement in my life has been and is astounding! I have experienced that rest and restoration, solitude and simplicity, are fast becoming my new best friends. Letting go of old responsibilities and looking for God’s direction as he leads me toward my next assignment has been both joyful and amazing.

Moving to North Carolina provided a lot of joy but the first five years were full of hard personal lessons as well! Looking back, I see that God’s purpose for me during those difficult days was and continues to be a work of refinement for my spiritual growth and development. I am learning that refinement cleanses me, it teaches me hard lessons, it provides opportunity for me to trust God, and calls me to pray and study God’s Word more than ever before. Refinement has also given me an opportunity to forgive, to relinquish my pain, and to move on. During this time of refinement I have also discovered the opportunity of learning the very difficult skill of waiting on God. The words “remain faithful” continue to challenge my thoughts regularly. Refinement has also brought other challenges. At one point God asked me to set aside my agenda for someone else’s project. God also asked me to step out of my comfort zone and do something new and different. God continues to ask me to leap out in simple obedience holding on to nothing but faith.

During this season of my life the discovery of God’s many blessings to me has become more visible. I think I am more aware of my blessings because I have more time for reflection. My longevity gives me countless opportunities to look back and see God’s faithfulness. God’s perfect record of provision allows me to trust him for my future as well. As my prayers go up it seems to me that I am now more aware of God’s unique way of answering my prayers. I am also observing God’s abundant answers to prayer, and I am witnessing those answers falling fresh and new every day. Yes indeed, this is “Autumn Glory!”

So then, does graying give us permission to throw in the towel, become a couch potato, or to curl up and wait to die? Most certainly not! Does it give us permission to selfishly pursue only the things that make us happy? Again, most certainly not! Retirement or semi-retirement gives us the opportunity to first of all be refreshed in God’s love. Secondly, we have the opportunity to experience God’s refinement as he prepares us for the next phase of our life. Thirdly, if we have been blessed spiritually then it is our duty to pass that on to others. For however many days each of us have left on this earth, this is our time to shine for Jesus.

If you are a young person reading these words, simply put them on the back shelf of your mind for future use, God willing. Another option would be to pass this on to someone who is retired or facing retirement. Remember, encouragement is needed at all ages. Young or old we all need to know that God has a plan for our life, plans that will not harm us but rather give us a hope and a future. Even in the most difficult of situations we all need to be reminded, God goes before us and he will be our all sufficient God. I would also encourage you to look forward to each new phase of your life as part of God’s amazing plan for you. Don’t let the milestones of 30, 40, 50, or 65 discourage or depress you. Be thankful for life; embrace the work that you have been given for this time of your life. Look forward to the new privileges and blessings that accompany every decade. And every year that you live always raise the bar in your own relationship with Jesus Christ. Keep growing in his marvelous love and grace. Never become satisfied. Always know that God has more for you!


Are you bothered by your age?

Do you see the aging process as an opportunity?

What are your plans for retirement?

Have you considered that God’s also has plans for your retirement?

Have you ever experienced God’s refinement in your life?

What is it that God is doing in your life right now?


Dear God,

I’m wondering if age is even important to you. Do you laugh at the word retirement? God help me to see my life as you do. God, help me to welcome your refinement in my life. I know that you understand that in my humanness I am prone to dread and fear regarding the future. Yet you constantly remind me that I am not to worry and that I should trust you completely. Down deep in my heart I really do know that you can be trusted. I am fully aware that sickness and dying are a natural part of life, and that I will experience trouble and hardships. In fact you have said to expect it! So God please refine my fear and everything else that needs the divine touch of your hand. God, you have also promised to be all that I will ever need. You have promised to be with me in my darkest hour and in my deepest need. You have promised all of us who love you a happy ending. Eternity with you forever! Yes indeed, the best is yet to be!

In Your Son’s Name I Pray. Amen.