So Long as I Live, Lord …

Posted on November 5, 2021

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By David Ettinger

A Strong Mind
One of the saddest things to behold is lifelong Christians who can no longer tell of God’s glories. This is because they have gotten old and their mental capacities have vastly decreased.

That they no longer bear witness of Christ has nothing to do with a lack of zeal or fractured spiritual walk, but simply that their minds no longer function properly. I am seeing this right now in a beloved brother in Christ.

I know I’m no better than such saints, but I pray that as I age my mind remains fairly strong and alert. Of course I always want to function at full capacity, but even more than that, I want be a witness for the Lord Jesus.

In fact, so long as I live, Lord, I want to testify on Your behalf.

The Catalyst
The catalyst for this concern is Psalm 71:18: “And even when I am old and gray, God, do not abandon me, Until I declare Your strength to this generation, Your power to all who are to come.”

Psalm 71 is not credited to a particular author, but King David’s stamp is all over it as he uses phrases common to his other psalms, as well as referencing his harp (v. 22).

The overall theme of Psalm 71 is an old man’s plea for God’s protection from his enemies. Ever since his sin with Bathsheba, fear of his enemies would plague David (2 Samuel 12:10-11).

He especially expresses this fear in verse 9: “Do not cast me away at the time of my old age; Do not abandon me when my strength fails.” And again in verse 12: “God, do not be far from me;
My God, hurry to my aid!”

But David’s concerns are not merely one way. He wants a two-way relationship with God. He wants to give as well as receive. He doesn’t seek only to be protected from evil, but to give back to God by proclaiming His greatness.

And this is where vs. 18 comes in: “And even when I am old and gray, God, do not abandon me, Until I declare Your strength to this generation, Your power to all who are to come.”

Making it Personal
Unlike David, I need no protection from enemies, though I desire the Lord’s protection. What I do share with David is his longing to proclaim the glories of God into my old age.

And though no one is trying to harm me, I face the same potential danger as all who grow old: decreasing mental abilities. At age 63, I’m not yet there, and from everything I can tell, my mind is working well.

However, I do wonder about the future. It’s not enough to have physical health if my mind deteriorates. And much more than that, it’s simply not worth living if I can’t actively and boldly proclaim my faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and be a witness for Him.

Like David, of course I seek God’s blessings, but I don’t want it to be one way. I want to give God the glory He deserves. I want a capable mind that allows me to proclaim His glory. I don’t know how long I’ll live, but I want every day to count for Christ, until my final breath.

Therefore, outside of my desire to see loved ones come to faith in Jesus Christ, my greatest prayer is Psalm 71:18: “And even when I am old and gray, God, do not abandon me, Until I declare Your strength to this generation, Your power to all who are to come.”

So long as I live, Lord, I want to testify on Your behalf!

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