The usual morning rush was at a peak in our home. As I was rushing out the door, my wife called out to me. “Hang on!” I was standing next to my daughter when my wife noticed something. “Stand up straight, both of you!”
My daughter and I looked at each other, shrugging our shoulders, then obeying my wife’s request. My wife eyed both of us and declared, “Sweetheart, you are now the same height as Daddy!”
My daughter was always conscious that she was just a few millimeters shorter than I but also aware that she had stopped growing, so she countered, “But I’m not growing anymore!”
I shook my head and said, “No sweetheart, you’re not growing. Daddy is shrinking!”
An unfortunate and inevitable consequence of aging is we lose height. Our vertebrae, through years of compression and the effects of gravity, are compacted and this results in a discernible and measurable loss of height, one that my family was now aware. To paraphrase John the Baptist, my daughter was increasing and I was decreasing!
There are many thrilling and inspiring stories of great saints of the Bible finishing well. Abraham, Moses, King David, and Steven are just a few who died with a legacy of faithfulness. Others were not as fortunate. King Hezekiah led the Kingdom of Judah and enacted sweeping reforms of the religious life, restoring the temple worship, reinstituting the celebration of the Passover, and rallying the people to withstand an assault by the Assyrian army. God even healed Hezekiah of a mortal illness, granting him an additional fifteen years of life. Hezekiah was very blessed by God for his faithfulness but at the height of these blessings, he stumbled over his pride.
In those days Hezekiah became sick and was at the point of death, and he prayed to the Lord, and he answered him and gave him a sign. But Hezekiah did not make return according to the benefit done to him, for his heart was proud. Therefore wrath came upon him and Judah and Jerusalem.
2 Chronicles 32:24-25 (ESV)
In this last quarter of my life, I am physically diminishing, this is inevitable. I pray to God that I will be able to finish strong not be spiritually diminished. God has given me so many reminders of the great saints who rested on their laurels and grew lax in their spiritual discipline and devotion to God during the final years of their life. Hezekiah turned his back upon God which led to decisions that led to the disclosure of vital strategic information of Jerusalem’s defenses and their eventual capture and destruction by Babylon.
Stand up straight! I will and seek the Lord until, by His grace and mercy, I stand in His presence in Heaven.
Love and trust the Lord; seek His will in your life.