One of the things I love most about the Lord is that sometimes, all we have to do is simply think about a matter that is troubling us, in order to experience His comfort and reassurance. While I do believe that it delights His heart to "pray about everything," as His Word tells us to (Philippians 4:6 NLT), I also believe that there are times when He desires to encourage us before we even ask. This was the case for me recently, when I was thinking about all the good things I must have missed out on, because I didn't surrender my life to the Lord until I was almost 40 years old. By then, I was married and had two children in their teens. I can only imagine how much better my life and my family would have been if I hadn't waited so long to get serious about my relationship with God. As I thought about these things in my quiet time with the Lord, He led me to some reassuring promises from His Word. Joel 2:25-26 (NIV) says: "I will repay you for the years the locusts have eaten...and you will praise the name of the Lord your God, who has worked wonders for you; never again will My people be shamed." Only God Himself could restore to us the years that were spent and wasted apart from Him and His perfect plans for us. I have discovered that though we may have missed out on the Lord's "Plan A" for our lives, if we will begin to wholeheartedly devote ourselves to Him, He will begin to unfold a "Plan B" for us. When He does, we can't help but praise Him for His miracle-working power, and His eagerness to deliver us from shame and regret.
One divine promise that I claim often is Job 8:7 (AMP): "And though your beginning was small, yet your latter end would greatly increase." I especially appreciate the "latter end" part of this promise, because it emphasizes blessings received later in life. One translation says, "He will make your later years very great." Since my first book wasn't published until I was 50 years old, I have a special appreciation for this divine promise, and I have hope that it will continue to be manifested in my life in various ways. As we get older, it's tempting to think that we should be slowing down and retiring from life. That may be the world's way, but that's certainly not God's way. The Bible says: "[The righteous] will still bear fruit in old age, they will stay fresh and green." (Psalm 92:14 NIV) Even if you have retired from your career and your job, the Lord has important work for you to do. If you will offer your life and your God-given gifts up to Him with sincerity, and if you will ask Him to use you for His glory, He will put you to work in His kingdom, and you will experience more meaning and purpose in your life than ever before. Then you will continue to "bear fruit" in your later years, and you will "stay fresh and green," instead of becoming idle and stagnant. The psalmist wrote: "Even when I am old and gray, do not forsake me, O God, till I declare Your power to the next generation, Your might to all who are to come." (Psalm 71:18 NIV) As we get older, we have a greater responsibility to bring more people into God's kingdom through our testimony and our example. As each succeeding generation gets further away from God, our part in the Great Commission becomes more valuable every day.
The Lord spoke an encouraging word to me the other day, and I believe that He wants me to pass it on to you. As I pondered how quickly my life is passing by, He told me, "The best is yet to come!" I challenge you to take this word of encouragement to heart today, and open the door to greater blessings and rewards than you've ever experienced before!
Prayer: Lord, I thank You for Your ability and eagerness to restore to me the years that I have wasted living apart from You and Your plans for me. Today, I surrender to You all that I have, and all that I am. Put me to work in Your kingdom, so that the gifts You have given me will be used for Your glory, and for the good of others. May I continually declare with complete confidence and conviction - "The best is yet to come!"
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