21 October 2010

The Threat of Years

William Barclay:
The years have a way of taking our ideals away, of making us satisfied with less and less, of lowering our standards, of accustoming us to defeat. . . . There is no threat so dangerous and so insidious, as the threat of years to a man’s ideals.
--William Barclay, The Letters to Timothy, Titus, and Philemon (Westminster 1960); 245-46; HT: Kent Hughes, 1 & 2 Timothy and Titus: To Guard the Deposit (Crossway 2000), 260

Older men often speak, with a knowing smile, of the naive idealism of younger men.

Maybe the diagnosis of error is being directed to the wrong generation.

If the Bible's pervasive teaching of strength through weakness, victory through defeat, is true, then maybe the disillusioning setbacks that pile up over the years of a life are meant to stoke, not extinguish, youthful idealistic dreams of a supernatural life, a life that is a miracle, a life not explainable by the world's categories.

O for more naive idealism.

One reason I love my dad is his steadfast refusal to let the years of life beat out of him a longing for and belief in and vision of what God might do in his generation, and through his own life.

2 comments:

Ray Ortlund said...

I love you too, son. Thank you for your kindness.

This important post reminds me of Jonathan Edwards, "Thoughts on the Revival," in his Works, I:423, where he says,

"The state of the present revival of religion has an awful aspect upon those that are advanced in years. The work has been chiefly amongst the young, and comparatively but few others have been made partakers of it. And indeed it has commonly been so, when God has begun any great work for the revival of his church, he has taken the young people, and has cast off the old and stiff-necked generation."

To age and not to become stiff-necked but softer and more open -- that is the goal.

rob said...

Thanks for this Dane, its a deep encouragement and challenge.