Life Stops at 50?

I once had a college professor who remarked in class, “I think fifty years for people to live are enough. I’m okay with my life ending at that age.”

The whole class laughed. I remember snickering, too. We needed an explanation for this kind of thinking, so my professor continued, “By then, we’d be at the height of our lives without our knees and joints giving way, or our brain cells giving up because of dementia. We’d have accomplished everything we needed to do without having to be a burden to society.”

A burden? Now, more than twenty years later, I find myself remembering these words and shaking my head. When we view life with an EXPECTATION of the future as that of merely aging, being forgetful, having arthritis, and identifying as a burden, then we set ourselves up for a meaningless, short life. This is NOT the kind of mindset God wants us to have.

What the Bible Says

But the godly will flourish like palm trees and grow strong like the cedars of Lebanon. For they are transplanted to the LORD’s own house. They flourish in the courts of our God. Even in old age they will still produce fruit; they will remain vital and green. They will declare, “The LORD is just! He is my rock! There is no evil in him!” Psalm 92:12-14

It is wrong to think that old age spells the end of our fruitfulness and worth. In John 14:6, Jesus calls Himself the Way, the Truth, and the LIFE. When we are connected to the source of LIFE Himself, how can we presume that our lives will go downhill only because we reach a certain age or start having aching bones or falling teeth? Caleb and Moses did amazing things at eighty years old! Nowhere in the Bible do we see God allowing people a “retirement” from life just because they reach a certain age. We can do amazing things even after society brands us as old.

The Goodness of God

One big secret I believe we can embrace as we look toward the future is found in Psalm 34:12: “Who is the man who desires life, and loves many days, that he may see good?”

If we desire life—desire many days of life—we should do so with an expectation that goodness will be in our future. After all, we have a good God who has given each day to us as a gift. We shouldn’t lose this perspective. We must train our minds and hearts to see God’s thumbprint of goodness daily.

Reflect on these questions: Do we see the smile of heaven in a spouse’s face? In a child’s laughter? In a friend’s comforting words? Do we hear God in the words of a song or in the splash of color that spreads in a sunset? These little treats are evidence of God’s goodness present in our lives.

Psalm 23:6 says, “Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” Old age, young age, middle age… we have a good God who loves us EVERYDAY and whose goodness chases us EVERYDAY. Therefore, let’s be expectant of a GOOD future filled with God and His goodness!