Growing older is a difficult thing. Our bodies begin to fail us, and we need more help. Churches and agencies in the Charlotte area provide help to those with health problems and needs. These agencies lift a burden off families and minister to individuals. As we look at the difficulties of growing older through the lens of Ecclesiastes 12, we will also look at solutions which can help the elderly and their families.
Remember your Creator in the days of your youth, before the days of trouble come and the years approach when you will say, “I find no pleasure in them”— (Ecclesiastes 12:1)
Depression is a major factor for people as they grow older. Whether lack of energy or physical problems, one source of encouragement is for the elderly to stay active in the community. Many programs exist to help the elderly. The links will give a few examples. Churches; The YMCA; Community Centers (& another one); and Communities.
…before the sun and the light and the moon and the stars grow dark, and the clouds return after the rain; (Ecclesiastes 12:2)
As people age there are more problems with eyesight. Cataracts develop, there is Macular Degeneration, and other problems occur. The Council for the Blind, Churches, Lions Club and other ministries help those with vision problems.
…when the keepers of the house tremble, and the strong men stoop, (Ecclesiastes 12:3)
It is sad to say, but we lose muscle tone as we age. We go from walking straight to stooped over. Then our legs begin to give out (the keepers or pillars of the house) and we must use a walker. Several organizations seek to help with these problems. Centralina Area Agency on Aging offers courses on Living Healthy and Balance at no cost which can greatly improve strength as people age.
…when the grinders cease because they are few, and those looking through the windows grow dim; when the doors to the street are closed and the sound of grinding fades; (Ecclesiastes 12:3-4)
We come into this world without teeth, and many go out of this world without teeth also. Because of decay or for other reasons we begin to loose our food grinders. Eating begins to be a problem. We cannot chew or swallow as well.
…when men rise up at the sound of birds, but all their songs grow faint; (Ecclesiastes 12:4)
As we age, we have trouble sleeping. Perhaps it is because it gets dark and we go to bed early so we wake up. It could also be because we get in the wrong position in bed. The bladder can be a problem also. Often this can be helped by more activity. Many Senior Adults have found that walking one or two miles several times a day helps. There are also gymnasiums with equipment to help muscle tone. Exercise helps not only sleep problems, but memory as well.
Fear of heights
…when men are afraid of heights and of dangers in the streets; (Ecclesiastes 12:5)
Growing older can bring fear. Older people are more prone to falls either because of stability problems or eyesight. Many are also fearful of staying alone. We are fortunate enough to have several organizations in our area who provide in-home services such as shopping, cooking, companionship, or watching people.
…when the almond tree blossoms (Ecclesiastes 12:5)
Many people arrive at a time when Grecian Formula will no longer work. That is OK. The Bible teaches that to have gray hair is an honor (Leviticus 19:32; Proverbs 16:31; Proverbs 20:29) .
…and the grasshopper drags himself along and desire no longer is stirred. (Ecclesiastes 12:5)
Grasshoppers — the dry, shrivelled, old man, his backbone sticking out, his knees projecting forwards, his arms backwards, his head down, and the apophyses enlarged, is like that insect. Hence arose the fable, that Tithonus in very old age was changed into a grasshopper [PARKHURST]. “The locust raises itself to fly”; the old man about to leave the body is like a locust when it is assuming its winged form, and is about to fly [MAURER].
Then man goes to his eternal home and mourners go about the streets. (Ecclesiastes 12:5)
There comes a time for each to die. Hopefully people are prepared. Everyone needs a will; advanced directives. People should also put in writing what type of funeral they want. Most importantly, people should be prepared spiritually for death. There is an afterlife. Some faiths promote reincarnation (you live multiple lives until you get it right). Other faiths teach that you earn salvation through good works. Most Protestant faiths teach that through a right relationship with God we find salvation because Jesus Christ died on the cross to provide Salvation through grace.
The silver cord
Remember him–before the silver cord is severed, or the golden bowl is broken; before the pitcher is shattered at the spring, or the wheel broken at the well, and the dust returns to the ground it came from, and the spirit returns to God who gave it. (Ecclesiastes 12:6-7)
Here is a list of the organs of the body. At the end, they no longer function. The “silver cord” is the spinal cord. The “golden bowl” is the head, the bowl for the brain. The functioning of the brain decreases in its efficiency as one gets older, and at death it ceases to function at all. The pitcher is the lungs. “The pitcher is broken at the fountain.” The wheel is the heart — “the wheel broken at the cistern.” It is no longer pumping blood through the body. All of this is a picture of the deterioration of old age leading to death. Life cannot be sustained without the functioning of these organs.