Here is a little bit of history for you: On July 4, 1863, during the War Between the States, Robert E. Lee’s Confederate Army of Northern Virginia was defeated after a charge of 15,000 Confederate soldiers failed to break the Union lines held under George Meade at Gettysburg, The three-day battle, culminated by Pickett’s Charge, resulted in the Confederacy losing one-third of their troops, and the Union seeing 23,049 casualties out of their total 88,289 fighting men.
As we celebrate Independence Day in July, we need to remember that freedom comes with a cost—the high cost of human lives. Even more importantly, the cost of spiritual freedom from sin for us, cost the Lord Jesus Christ His life on the cross of Calvary to suffer and die for our sins (see Matthew 1:21; John 1:29; 1 John 3:5; and Galatians 5:1).
This month also is a milestone in my life as I reach the mature age of 75 years. Thinking of that, I want to share with you some Bible verses that have blessed and encouraged my soul. Psalm 71:9, Cast me not off in the time of old age, forsake me not when my strength faileth. The psalmist pleads, one commentator says, “that God may not find him a burden.” How could our wonderful Lord ever consider us a burden when He died for us (John 3:16) and “ever liveth to make intercession” for each of His born again children (Hebrews 7:25). [You that are younger than I, will one day be old. Be encouraged by these verses.] We can be quite sure that God’s strength is made perfect in weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9) and that He will never abandon a person just because he is old. Our society does, but not the Lord. God has a great liking for old people, for which I am truly thankful.
Next consider Psalm 37:25, The Lord knoweth the days of the upright: and their inheritance shall be for ever. John Phillips states: “David had never seen the righteous abandoned by God and any temporary shifts of fortune had all been part of the wise discipline of God to make of him a true man of God.” I add to those comments the testimony of a life that has always been sustained by the grace and mercy of my wonderful Savior. Dear reader let this verse bring strength to your soul as you travel through this life.
Now consider Psalm 71:18, Now also when I am old and greyheaded, O God, forsake me not: until I have shewed thy strength unto this generation, and thy power to every one that is to come. Each year, I choose a verse to consider and practice for that year. This verse was my verse for 2009. For this unnamed old writer of the psalm (and the writer of this letter) the passionate appeal was that as an old man he might be able to minister to younger folks. When we get old, the natural thing is to cut back and take life easy. Not the writer of the psalm (look at verse 16 and ponder). The writer was old and greyheaded, but he doesn’t feel his work is done. And mine is not done, nor yours, until the Lord removes us from this earth and takes us to our heavenly home.
Brethren, there is much work for the Lord that is yet to be accomplished. Whether you are old or middle age or young, the Lord wants to use ALL of us to tell of His marvelous grace in offering salvation to the world in which we are living.
Ask the Lord to use you for His glory. Consider the truth found in Galatians 6:9, And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.
As my Lord gives me strength and a sound mind, I will endeavor to continue to serve Him. May that be your desire also.
Dr. Frederick W. Carroll