ESPECIALLY FOR WOMEN
The Best Is Yet To Come!
The first 20-30 years of your adult life may have been spent in raising a family. The day-to-day routine of family duties and obligations can be very demanding on a woman. If you were given the gift to remain single, or you didn’t have children, perhaps establishing a career was how you spent these years. Nevertheless, you find yourself at life’s half-way mark wondering, “Where do I go from here? What should I do with the rest of my life?”
When you are raising children, you wonder if they will ever grow up and become independent. Then that day arrives. They no longer need you as they once did. And they leave home. There is a sense of emptiness because the first half of your life had been a series of well-established routines. Now your schedule is dramatically altered. The world calls it “The Empty Nest Syndrome.”
Or perhaps you have worked at a particular career for many years and you’ve reached the point where you feel led to change direction. Work isn’t as fulfilling as it once was. The zest is gone. You may even have thought that perhaps there’s something else you should be doing with your life.
The God-Developed Theme
When we look closely at our lives with all their trials and blessings, each life seems to have a string of events that spell out a theme. Some of us may see a theme of suffering. Certainly as we endure that suffering over the years, the blessings that come forth prepare us for a tremendous ministry in the second phase of life. It often takes years of enduring trials to gain the experience needed to minister effectively to others who suffer. Moses’ 40 years on the backside of the desert prepared him to be a leader of God’s people. Joseph’s years away from his home and family prepared him for governorship in Egypt which led to the preservation of God’s people.
The different experiences of the first half of our lives can develop and train us for God’s next mission. Praise the Lord for His patience with us as He shapes and molds us little by little. Can you connect the dots of your life to see the theme that God is weaving there?
God Saves The Best For Last
In the book of Ruth, Naomi certainly didn’t anticipate all the trials and heartache she faced. She reached the second stage of her life with a sense of hopelessness. She didn’t recognize the value that her past would have on the future. All Naomi saw were the broken fragments of her tragedy-filled life. With her husband and two sons dead, she found herself alone with two young daughters-in-law by her side. She reflected on her sorrows and regrets. Thank God for the fragments of our lives that remain! Painful regrets and disappointments are the very things God loves to use for His glory.
Perhaps the first half of your life was filled with pain and loss. What could God possibly fashion from that? But God is faithful! He left Naomi with Ruth. Despite the past, God planned to bless her through Ruth.
Naomi returned from Moab with regrets, and was honest with God’s people: “I went out full and the Lord has brought me home again empty” (Ruth 1:19-21). But later we see how God used the first half of Naomi’s life to bring her into great blessing. All of her mothering skills, griefs and heartaches were exchanged for something greater than she could have ever imagined. In Ruth 4:14-16, we read the testimony of the neighborhood women. They saw how God provided Naomi with “a restorer of life and a nourisher of your old age.” They saw that Ruth was “better to you than seven sons.” What glory God received in the second phase of Naomi’s life. Who could have seen it coming?
When the Lord fed the five thousand, He said, “gather up the pieces that are left over. Let nothing be wasted” (Jn. 6:12). God is interested in the fragments and the end of our lives. He intends to use them for His glory. God sees the good that can come from these fragments, and will use them to bless others.
What is the theme of the first half of your life? How many fragments remain? They can all be used for blessing in the second half of your life. Everything that you’ve experienced is now ready to be used for God’s purposes. The stage is set for Act Two of your life. God has saved the best for last!
By Pat Stuart
With permission to publish by: Sam Hadley, Grace & Truth, 210 Chestnut St., Danville, IL., USA. Website: www.gtpress.org