Remember now your Creator in the days of your youth, before the difficult days come, and the years draw near when you say, “I have no pleasure in them.” (Ecclesiastes 12:1)
The Difficult Days
One of the paradoxes of the aged is why youth is wasted on the young. The irony of the statement is that all the aged were young once. There is one commonality shared by every man and woman: everyone is born, and everyone dies. In the process of living, the body changes from a steel instrument of youthful vigor to a fading canvas of pain and suffering. It is remarkable that old age surprises people. The young can die, and the old will die, but all men age. Moses describes the oldest recorded man who lived to be 969 years, and then he died. Methuselah faced old age at an odd age, but his body still died. Billions of dollars are spent for youthful pursuits to attain what Juan Ponce de Leon believed existed in a fountain of youth, but he was killed in 1521 at the age of 47. The difficult days come to all men.
Solomon reigned for forty years, and then he rested with his fathers and was buried in the city of David his father. The book of Ecclesiastes is a reflection on the life of an older and wiser man. In his conclusion, the son of David reminds the human soul the human body decays and wears out. He calls them the difficult days. Old age is difficult because of the changes that take place. Sight is diminished, hearing is dulled, and the mind is not so quick. The strength of youth is gone, and the affliction of growing older saps the vigor of youth. Sleep can be difficult. There is an unsteady gate in the walk of an older man and woman. The hair turns white or turns loose. Desire is diminished as the body changes. These are difficult days.
Old age is difficult because the body changes, but it does not always suggest the inner body of man must diminish. Solomon admonished the young to remember God early in life so that when the difficult days of physical limitations come, the spiritual acuteness remains. A man may not be able to leap tall buildings and have the strength more powerful than a locomotive, but his soul should be strengthened with the word of God. Remembering God transcends the difficult days into days of golden glory. What is truly sad is when a man enters old age without God. He may spend all his life grooming his body for a youthful look but to what end? The body will die regardless. Angels are bemused at men who seek to keep youth alive in a fading body of mortality. Difficult days will come to the health conscience, the gym devotee, the puritan, the vegan, the rich, the famous, and the poor alike. It is not a possibility – it’s a reality.
Difficult days are the precursor to a day of happiness. One of the joys of growing older in Christ is the clearer vision of what life has meant and what life awaits. The focus is no longer on the physical body that begins to ache and slow down and lack energy. Disease begins to invade and destroy the body, and through the marvel of medicine, life can be extended, but the body will still die. Remembering the Creator brings a vitality to life that no pill can have. Old men are young and old women rejoice. Life is not difficult. God is the Creator. He has promised that the difficult days will end, and He will wipe away every tear from the eye and take away all pain and sorrow. There are no difficult days in Heaven. Life begins and ends, but eternal life only begins. What a joy the difficult days will be over, and the joy of God’s love is fully realized. Remember the Creator now before the difficult days come (and they are coming). You will be glad you did.