Monday, November 23, 2015


Things that once were wild alarms cannot now disturb my rest...” is a phrase from a hymn familiar to some of us.

Is that a true witness for those of us who have put our trust in God...or just wishful thinking? Has God's “peace that passes understanding” that was promised to keep our hearts and minds, our emotions and our mental equilibrium at an even keel vanished in the face of fear?

When an alarm suddenly goes off, it churns up feelings of jangled nerves, rapid heart beats, ear splitting noise, and paralyzing fear. There might be outward alarms like a sudden electrical storm in the middle of the night with flashes of lightning and thunder boomers; a fire alarm breaking silence; the screech of tires followed by a splintering crash and breaking glass. Or inward emotional alarms like answering the phone and receiving bad news; a worst scenario report from a medical test; a treasured relationship unexpectedly shattered; a devastating financial disaster. Alarms wear many faces and make us feel that we lack control.

It seems as if dozens of wild alarms are currently going off at a high decibel level all over the world. We are on edge and in the grip of fear with imminent terrorist threats. Our nerves are on edge. We face the threat of cataclysmic changes to our accustomed way of life. We are afraid for our very lives and the lives of our loved ones.

There will always be situations in life that disturb my status quo and jerk me out of my comfort zone. Jesus stated that in the world we will have tribulation. We are not promised smooth sailing or a placid flight over the jagged mountain tops of life. The captain of a plane might have time to warn us to buckle our seat belts and prepare for turbulence ahead or it might come suddenly. He might have to alter the flight course and rise above the clouds to avoid a storm. For sure it is time to keep our seat belts fastened.

No matter how high or how tumultuous the waves on the surface of the churning ocean, a submarine can navigate into the depths where there are quiet waters unaffected by the violent storm above. Likewise Jesus is our “ever present help in time of trouble” to submerge us to that quiet place in the secret of His presence.

Peace doesn't mean the absence of storms or adversities or setbacks. Jesus declared that He came expressly to give us His peace, to leave it with us “to take as needed.” It is recorded in the gospels that Jesus was sound asleep in the midst of a raging storm on the sea so violent that the panicked disciples feared for their very lives. It may seem as if God doesn't care about our present dilemma because He is not doing anything about it. Nevertheless, He is still in charge and will never forsake us and will take us through whatever He has allowed to happen in His perfect will.

The devil is good at breaking and entering our hearts with frightful events, trying to breach our security in Christ and knock us off kilter. He uses “wild alarms” like terrorist threats to fill our hearts with fear, steal our peace, and shake our trust in God. Jesus promised that “no one can snatch us out of the Father's hand.” Only we can remove ourselves from God's protection and shelter by giving in to the devil's wiles.

I am God's child. Have I forgotten to anchor myself in the promise of Psalm 91 in this time of terrorist threats?

"He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High Will abide in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say to the LORD, "My refuge and my fortress, My God, in whom I trust!" For it is He who delivers you from the snare of the trapper And from the deadly pestilence. He will cover you with His pinions, And under His wings you may seek refuge; His faithfulness is a shield and bulwark. You will not be afraid of the terror by night, Or of the arrow that flies by day; Of the pestilence that stalks in darkness, Or of the destruction that lays waste at noon. A thousand may fall at your side And ten thousand at your right hand, But it shall not approach you. You will only look on with your eyes And see the recompense of the wicked. For you have made the LORD, my refuge, Even the Most High, your dwelling place. No evil will befall you, Nor will any plague come near your tent. For He will give His angels charge concerning you, To guard you in all your ways. They will bear you up in their hands, That you do not strike your foot against a stone. You will tread upon the lion and cobra, The young lion and the serpent you will trample down. "Because he has loved Me, therefore I will deliver him; I will set him securely on high, because he has known My name. "He will call upon Me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will rescue him and honor him. "With a long life I will satisfy him And let him see My salvation."

Sunday, November 15, 2015


 It was such a simple, innocent gesture. The sweet, young podiatrist's assistant asked me, “Do you want me to put your socks and shoes back on?”

 I had just finished with my regular appointment to have my toenails trimmed and anything else foot-related attended to as necessary. “Sure, thank you!” I replied, although I could still have done it myself.

It caught me by surprise. I smiled and relaxed and let it happen. Well, why not? Full circle—navigating my nineties now, I had a flashback to when I was a toddler and my mother did that for me because I had not yet learned to do it myself. Soon on, however, I wanted to do everything for myself no matter how clumsily. Dependence turned to independence and being in control of myself for a long lifetime. Independence became a habit. I accepted that as the admirable, mature normal for adulthood.

Fast forward to the present. The new normal of the advancing in age process seems to be a diminishing of one's capability and relinquishment of being in control of one's abilities and activities. Gradual dependence looms ahead. I find myself needing greater assistance in some of the physical areas of life. And at the same time a resistance to being helped wells up within me. I must admit that I am not as strong as I was. I don't want to lose control. I want to stay competent and efficient. I want to remain independent. I want to stay strong. I don't want any help!

The facts are against all of this. We progress from total dependence as an infant through the seasons of life to at least a large measure of dependence in the last season of life. That's part of the aging package and the reality road to serenity we must embrace: to accept the things we cannot change; to change whatever we can, and wisdom to know the difference. The reality of needing assistance looms high on the roster of things we must accept or else we will make ourselves miserable.
I dislike that I need assistance, but I'm coming to understand that there are certain things I can't manage by myself anymore. It comes as a shock. I'm accustomed to quoting, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” That is not always so. To receive help is something difficult that one must learn. We can also be blessed when we have learned to receive. If we fail to accept assistance we reject the natural order of things. I dislike the four letter word weak. I have always been strong and in charge. Nevertheless, God's order is: there is a time to help others when we are strong, and there is a time to let others help us when we become more frail. I don't like the word frail either.

My friend's husband is elderly and becoming unstable in his walking gait. His doctor strongly advised using a cane for balance. His male pride got in the way, he refused the cane, stumbled, and ended up in the hospital, then in rehab, and now is confined to a walker. Examples of our resistance to assistance and the consequences are many. What a blessing awaits us if we accept help joyfully and thankfully! God provides that through family and friends and caregivers! 

Resistance to assistance has its parallel in the spiritual realm. We have an innate desire to want to be in control, to “do it my way,” to devise our own way of salvation, to walk independently. God's normal is to want us to look to Him in all our ways, to lean on Him, to accept His help because “without Me you can do nothing.” He wants us to receive the bounteous help and blessings He has for us. It is in our weakness that we experience His strength.

Saturday, October 31, 2015


My friend Marian calls it a “nudge.” Someone else says “a bolt from the blue,” another calls it “God's whisper.” Still another describes it like a “brush of angels' wings,” by which she means goose pimples, I guess. 

I call it an “inner impression,” a mental feeling or a sudden knowing. It is like a gentle poke in the ribs or God's tap on the shoulder to get my attention. The ears and eyes of my heart are abruptly alerted to something God is saying to me.

Whatever you want to call it, you know that you know that you know when God is speaking to you. It isn't audible but you hear the voice of God nonetheless; you see with your eyes closed. “My sheep hear My voice,” Jesus declared. The qualification is that you must belong to Him, be one of His sheep, and acknowledge Him as your Shepherd. 

I've heard that a shepherd and each of his sheep has such an intimate relationship that when several flocks of sheep are in the same fold, all bleating noisily, and several shepherds are tending them, each sheep can recognize its own shepherd's voice when its shepherd calls its name. Equally awesome is the analogy that Jesus made for the same kind of intimacy that is available between Himself and us. He calls us by name and we are supposed to be able to hear Him, if we are listening. But we have to be listening; we must have an obedient heart. We have to get quiet enough so that the static from the busy environment we live in doesn't drown out His voice.

“Speak, Lord, for Your servant is listening,” is what Eli the prophet instructed young Samuel. Should this not be our spiritual posture? Many people claim that they have a difficult time hearing God speak. It shouldn't be that hard to recognize His voice, if we know Him intimately. We usually can recognize the voice of a close friend or loved one if they say only a word or two to us on the phone. If some of us older Samuels have a greater challenge discerning the voice of God, we may need a hearing aid. God has provided that through the Holy Spirit dwelling in our hearts who tunes the volume up on our spiritual audio. God doesn't usually speak in a high decibel voice; He doesn't shout at us. He expects us to listen for His slight whisper.

God is continually speaking through creative ways. God speaks to us through His Word; the Holy Spirit quickens it to our heart and applies it personally. He speaks through His creation. He speaks through His Church and our Shepherds. He speaks through other people whom God “nudges” and they in turn “nudge” us. We exhort and encourage each other as members of the Body of Christ, His Family, His Household of Faith. He speaks to us through circumstances, positive ones and negative ones, if we are open to hear His voice.

The technology of cell phones is incredible, although we seem to take them for granted these days. Less than a generation ago our parents and grandparents would have thought such a gadget impossible. "Where are the wires?" To call them “smart phones” is an understatement. They are an analogy to our spiritual connection with God. Wherever we are, we are connected and can receive and transmit as long as there is a cell tower within range. God is our stable cell tower. We are responsible to keep our cell phone battery charged up so we will not miss His call. His call comes only into our device. He knows our individual number; He knows our name. In a room full of people and cell phones and noise, we can recognize our special signal or vibration.

Let's not miss the vibration of God's voice, that “nudge” notifying us that God has something to say to us. Let's expect Him to speak today in our ordinary day, speak to our ordinary need as well as our extraordinary needs. We don't have to wait for special occasions or when we are in special places to hear God's voice. He may surprise us with something He wants us to say or do as He directs our “going out and coming in.” If we are always connected to Him in an inner posture of “praying without ceasing” as Saint Paul encouraged us, our hearts are in the listening mode all the time.

“If today you will hear His voice, harden not your hearts” (Psalm 95; Hebrews 3 and 4).

Wednesday, October 28, 2015


By viewers' popular request

Seven Autumn Poems
by Leona Choy

With introductory poem:
I Paint With Words”


Some paint with brush and canvas
describing beauty seen by human eyes
Others paint with notes on a staff
which they set to music
Some paint with photo lens capturing color
or with nature's ingredients to produce
gourmet food for eager palates
some paint with healing hands and skills
bringing color back to pallid cheeks with health.
I paint with words.Some paint with hammer, nails, or mortar and cement
Some paint with flowers planted in fertile soil
or decoratively arranged in vase or bouquet
others paint with numbers and equations
describing, solving universal mysteries
or painting with technologies and systems
beyond my finite comprehension.
I paint with words.

Some paint on engineering blueprints
only white lines on blue backgrounds
which become impressive architectural edifices
a graphic artist paints from dreams and imagination
still life or incredible animation
a sculptor paints with hammer and chisel in stone.
I paint with words.
Each is an artist endowed by Creator God
with a portion of His creative spirit
in stewardship as a precious gift
not to bury unused
but to discover and invest
and multiply and so must I
when I paint with words.


AUTUMN puts on a Paradox Performance:
She hurries to change scenes and costumes
making me dizzy with her diversity
as she passes briefly between summer
and winter's blustery polar breath.

AUTUMN quickly comes and goes
a transient season of diminishing sunlight
and shortened fugitive days
still she turns once more to bless me
with the ineffable glow of a splendid sunset
leaves fall from soon bare branches
yet such glory in their surrender of life
a part of nature dying all around
amidst a time of bountiful harvest.

AUTUMN's paradox inevitably brings
sadness for diminishing mortal years
yet deep gratitude toward seasons past
rue for course of life I might have changed
now decreed and appointed
I must let go of what I cannot alter
to embrace the joy of what's to come.

AUTUMN's paradox offers me time
to gather all my nostalgia
like creatures forage for their winter larder
I will store up my treasured memories
to savor on a frigid winter's night
around the warmth of the dying embers
of my friendly hearth
and rest content in God's best plan.


AUTUMN is a wet, crunching bite
of a Shenandoah Valley orchard apple
a plump pumpkin time
a snuggle-under-covers season
a time for raking leaves
winding up the garden hose
pulling up dry plants
a porch furniture storing time
a moth-balled sweater
retrieved from the cedar closet
with last year's woolen gloves.

AUTUMN is a cushion
a subdued, leaf-fire-scented buffer
between the swelter of summer
and the wail of frigid winter:
my favorite interlude
this seasonal spectacular!

AUTUMN arrives with composure
and quiet earnestness
unlike the sudden burst of spring.
It signals flocks southward
elbowing harvesters
to hurry with their bounty tasks
before the latter rains.

AUTUMN causes football fever
in restless males: spectators and team.
It sets off ghostly squeals and costume madness
in the young for Halloween
while Thanksgiving menus and fall fashions
tantalize the female mind.

AUTUMN taps summer on the shoulder
nudges it out of the way
and displaces the sultry day
with crispy-cool jacket weather.

Welcome AUTUMN!
I eagerly trade
deep-breathing frosty morning walks
for sluggish dullness that stalks
humid hot July which I
only tolerate because
I anticipate AUTUMN.

The painted leaf, the falling leaf
evoke a tension in my emotions
between joy and grief:
regret for what I haven't done
at blaze of summer sun
and gratitude for living
to this moment of harvest
in relationships and nature.

The wardrobe of the seasons
would be incomplete and out-of-style
without the flashy scarf and golden cap
of AUTUMN and her smile!

P.S. Thanks, God, for not bargain shopping
but going first-class
when You thought up AUTUMN!


Please stay—just one more day—
it’s a long time 'til spring!

The lash of latter rains
conspire with whipping winds
to chase her off stage
but autumn splendor lingers
reluctant to retreat
without a final flourish.

Eager to please
autumn struts proudly
on mountain and meadow
pompously waving
her leafy scarlet scarves
like victory banners
defying frost and fading foliage
laughing with careless abandon
stunning my summer senses
with her breathtaking beauty.

Stay, autumn—just one more day
before winter disrobes you
to naked, shivering branches
reaching for mercy to the melancholy sky
while chilly gusts sting
your flushed face.


Crispy, frosty mornings cycle again
in a season of reflection, pensive nostalgia
granting me permission
to stroll the back roads of my mind
while wading ankle-deep in the paint-splashed carpet
kicking up waves of oak and hickory leaves
inhaling the musty mulch beneath my feet
while munching the wet crunch
and tart taste of a freshly picked Jonathan.

Here I can smell peace, forget schedules
concentrate on important things
like scampering squirrels
scurrying to stash acorns for winter larder.
I filter out all but the traffic noise
of wing-flapping, honking geese
heading South in the fast lane
while I take the exit ramp
to a blue line country lane
deliberately dragging my feet
trying to slow down my speeding life
that always seems to be
running a marathon ahead of me.


Temperamental days
bluffing me, mocking me
with teasing, wistful
coquettish ways:
Late October.

Lingering memories
of high July
blazing sun
and summer fun
are tossed on the run
but mixed with
frosty ecstasies.

Reminiscing time
that casts a chill
as winter steals
with cold appeals
slipping finally
into November's prime.


God outdid Himself again!
First He daubed His ruby brush
only on emerald maple tops
teasing them to shyly blush
then rouged their hues
with bolder strokes of scarlet bright
against the autumn cerulean blue
applying saffron-yellow
to catch the lingering rays
before the season’s early wrap
of a frigid starry night.

Suddenly this morning
all nature flamed aglow!
God must have tripped on a mountain
and dropped His palette below:
blazing gold and crimson
splashed on bush and tree
blotching lanes and lawns
spattering his paint recklessly.

Can a painter capture on canvas
such Divine display?
Or I, with feeble words of verse
His magnificence portray?
is without a peer
each season He paints
an original masterpiece
better than last year!

(Number 7 encored below:)


Leona Choy

I wait in pre-dawn darkness
watching for the sun's first ray while
blue and gray overlay the achromic horizon.
Silently a blushing tint of anticipation
steals from beyond the tree line
to lighten the purple shadows.

I begin to see the frosted fence rails
hidden by the unlit night
green pines stand motionless
revealed now in stark silhouette.
An eagle in flight sails slow-motion across
the powder-blue canopy of sky while
golden streaks dispel dusky apparitions.

The eerie scene begins to assume
familiar friendly features while
mist still hugs bronzed tree tops
shorn of autumn brilliance.
An eagle circles and returns...
or is it his mate seeking him?

Frost has aerosoled late October grass
turning the meadow into an albescent carpet.
For a moment dark clouds threaten to hide
the sunrise as I wait, scarce breathing:
Will I miss the main feature after all?

No! I rise to my feet in worship!
Burnt-gold leaps boldly upward
thrusting aside the indigo mass
showering me with warmth and brilliance.

The blazing sun catapults into view
as from a celestial launching pad
into the space of a fresh, new day
blushing the shy white clouds crimson.
I cannot bear to gaze upon this spectacle:
I shade my eyes at the flaming finale.

A fog blanket still shrouds the valley below
but God begins to paint powder-blue across
the vast sky canvas with a wide brush
until a daytime dome appears overhead
paling deep hues into muted pastels.

An alarm clock jangles by some distant bedside
forcing me reluctantly back to mortal thoughts
by the intrusiveness of prosaic human routine.
But I have been an awed and adoring spectator
privileged to stand on nature's sacred ground
to view the miracle of an autumn dawn.

I stand transfixed in silent worship
not of created sun and nature's video display
but of the Creator of heaven and earth.
The memory of God's enchanting wake-up call
lingers through my day's mundane routine
reminding me that He is over all
of ordered nature, seasons, space, and time
and human endeavors—
including mine!

Friday, October 23, 2015


What's so special about the story of Simon of Cyrene helping Jesus carry His cross? Perhaps because his hometown was in Libya North Africa which is now modern Benghazi and the official inquiry about the terrorist attack of September 11, 2012 is in the news again.

Wasn't Simon just a man who had happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time, an insignificant, curious passer-by as he was referred to in the Scripture, who was randomly picked from the crowd? What was so important about that event that all three synoptic gospel writers would record it? In one of the Stations of the Cross we commemorate it.   

There must be more here than meets the eye! And a great deal to learn about carrying our own crosses and also the crosses of others.

As I searched for more background information, I found that a condemned person was always forced to bear his own instrument of torture, in Jesus' case at least the heavy crossbeam of a cross. But the soldiers didn't want a prisoner to die on the way up the hill to his crucifixion because that would spare him from the planned cruel torture of a deliberately slow and painful execution. A criminal was deliberately crucified in a public place where it would serve as a warning and deterrent to would-be evildoers. Jesus was already staggering under the weight of the crossbeam and falling repeatedly from extreme weakness after his agonizing, prolonged scourging by the soldiers.

In various translations of this biblical passage Simon was said to have been “pressed into service” or “seized” or “compelled.” He obviously didn't volunteer. He had no choice; he was forced to do so at the point of a soldier's spear. 

Who was this Simon whom Mark so precisely identifies that he even records the names of his sons and that he had come to Jerusalem from “the country” or “the fields.”  Since Mark wrote his gospel for Jewish believers, it is likely that by the time he wrote the gospel story the inclusion of the names of his sons in Mark 15:21 may suggest that they were of some standing in the Early Christian community. Tradition says that Simon's sons Rufus and Alexander became missionaries of the gospel; It has also been suggested that the Rufus mentioned by Paul in Romans 16:13 is the son of Simon of Cyrene. 

Libya is separated from the Holy Land by Egypt. Simon would have had to cross Egypt by land or come by sea to Jerusalem. Libya was under Roman rule at that time but there was a Greek colony in North Libya along the Mediterranean Sea with a large settlement of Judean Jews.  Most of Libya is covered by the Sahara desert except for that special long strip of Northern coastline where eighty percent of Libya's people live.

It is significant that Cyrene became an early center of Christianity in the centuries after the Church began to spread. Did Simon have something to do with that? Some also link Simon with the "men of Cyrene" in Acts 11:20 who preached the gospel to the Greeks—the Cyrenians would have known how to speak Greek. 

Why was Simon there in the crowd that was following Jesus to Golgotha? Were his sons with him? Were they adults or children? Was he a laborer or a wealthy foreign businessman? Was he a Jew from the diaspora or a dark-skinned Libyan native? Was Simon a believer in Jesus already when he carried Jesus' cross? Was he a devout Jew who was making a pilgrimage to Jerusalem for Passover according to the requirement of Judaism?  Or was he only a curious pagan caught up in the drama of a Roman execution until he became part of what was a life-changing event for himself and his sons and perhaps his heritage for generations to come?

Simon, “Were you there when they crucified my Lord?” Did you stay at the cross after you carried it up the hill for Jesus and watch salvation history unfold? Were your sons at the crucifixion with you?

  “Were you there when they laid Him in the tomb?” Did you become a Christian as a result of seeing Jesus die on the cross or perhaps hearing the witness of the disciples about Jesus' resurrection? (Someone ought to write a novel about this man!)

Simon, “Were you there when the Holy Spirit came?” Were you among the 120 in the Upper Room? In the biblical account of the birth of the Church on Pentecost in Acts chapter two in the list of places from which people were present at the event, “the districts of Libya near Cyrene” was noted. Simon, “Were you there?” We can only speculate.

What is the take-away insight for us from this special event? In His suffering humanity and to accomplish His mission from His Father, Jesus allowed Simon to help carry His cross. He could have called ten thousand angels to strengthen Him to carry the heavy cross, but He permitted and welcomed a mortal man to help Him. In His teaching before the crucifixion Jesus spoke about the necessity of taking up our cross and following Him. (Matthew 16:24) On the way to Golgotha Simon didn't carry his own cross; he carried Jesus' cross.

We can't do what Simon did. We can't literally carry Jesus' cross. Jesus gave His life once for all on the cross for the forgiveness of our sins and to obtain eternal life for us. However, in a singular way we can share the sufferings of Christ according to Colossians 1:24.  How can we bear Jesus' cross for Him now? Jesus declared that whatsoever we do for others or to others, we do as if we did it unto Him. The Lord receives it as literally done to Him! (Matthew 25:35-46) In practice then, as we bear one another's burdens we fulfill the law of Christ. (Galatians 6:2)

Each of us has unique personal crosses to bear as well as burdens, afflictions, and problems. There is a sense in which we must with courage and God's enabling accept and bear our own cross, the cross that God has given us in His love. By this we glorify Him and give witness to Him. However, there is a further sense in which we should reach out in love and compassion to help others shoulder their crosses as Simon of Cyrene did for Jesus. By so doing, we are privileged to partake in Jesus' suffering, “For to you it has been granted for Christ's sake, not only to believe in him, but also to suffer for His sake.” (Philippians 1:29)


The everlasting God has, in His wisdom,
foreseen from eternity the cross
that He now presents to you
as a gift from His inmost heart.

This cross He now sends you
He has considered with His all-knowing eyes,
understood with His loving mind,
tested with His wise justice,
warmed with His loving arms,
and weighed with His own hands,
to see that it be not one inch too large
and not one ounce too heavy for you.

He has blessed it with His holy name,
anointed it with His grace,
perfumed it with His consolation,
taken one last glance at you and your courage,
and then sent it to you from Heaven,
a special greeting from God to you,
an alms of the all-merciful love of God.
Saint Francis de Sales

Monday, October 19, 2015



I see another meaning in the words of the *classic hymn whose first line is, “O God, our help in ages past, our hope for years to come.” “Ages past” can mean not only generations and centuries past in the calendar sense, but the different ages and periods of an individual's life cycle from birth to advanced age. Our Eternal God has a plan for each of us for all the seasons of our lives. He had a plan for my childhood, my youth, my married and parental life, my widowhood, and the "summit season" of my life.
Among the seasons of life is chronological maturity: aging, if you will. Even if you resist it, if you live long enough, you will come, albeit reluctantly, into the final phase of this mortal life on Planet Earth. Some call that stage of life our “sunset years.” I prefer to call them “sunrise years.” Since we are Christians, we don’t face growing darkness; instead we anticipate dawn and Eternal life with God. “The child is father of the man…The last of life for which the first was made,” wrote a famous poet.

I remember myself as a vacillating teenager always excited about something new or different, and my parents using the word “phase” in a disparaging way. “Oh, it’s just a phase that Leona is going through. She’ll get over it.” However, we don’t “get over” our seasons of life; we have to go through them, if God blesses us with long life. We don’t have the luxury of tripping lightly through the tulips through each chronological stage from youth to maturity. Human time is divided into seasons of life, and each period provides its own opportunities, responsibilities, struggles, temptations, joys, and challenges.

I’ve often used the term “seasoned saints” in my writing to refer to Christians who are maturing in calender years. The apostle Paul addressed all Christians as “saints” not because they wore halos, or were sanctimonious above their fellow mortals, or had achieved perfection. The Bible simply uses the word to refer to believers in Christ living on earth or in heaven. Also, I don’t restrict the term to the departed who are canonized by the Catholic Church because of their heroic virtue or extraordinary holiness.

Let’s explore the treasures of that season of life that is finally approaching ripeness in wisdom, experience, and responsibility—and hopefully, holiness and devotion to our Lord Jesus Christ and the Church which He established for our nurture. 

Delving into the dictionary meaning of being seasoned is like discovering a mother lode of gold. The word season is a derivative of the Middle English, sesoun, Old French, se(i)on, and Latin word sation meaning “a sowing time.” That root meaning of sowing in itself is significant to the chronologically mature period of our lives:

We are seasoned in the sense of being experienced. We have done a lot of living which we can generously share with others for their benefit. (But only when we are asked!)

Another meaning of seasoned is to be toughened by conditions, like wood that is hardened and rendered immune to shrinkage or warping. Likewise, we are durable because we have lived long enough to learn to endure the adversities of life through trust in God.

Seasoned also means heightened or improved in flavor by the addition of herbs, spices and the like. Good cooks add just the right seasoning in the proper amount to enhance the taste. God is seasoning us all the time, adding this and that to increase His joy in us and our pleasure in Him and our usefulness for His Kingdom. As we age we shouldn’t become like “salt that has lost its savor” which Jesus said was useless.

A season is, of course, a time of the year—four distinct seasons in certain parts of the globe. Normally, human beings experience four seasons of life although somewhat overlapping. God expects different things of us in different time periods of life. He intends that we should live fully in the present at whatever season we find ourselves. God has allowed some of us to see many seasons of life; we have gained a perspective that as good stewards we should sow into our posterity, the generations that come after us.

“In due season we shall reap if we faint not” the Scripture promises. Due season always seems to be illusively off in the future somewhere, sometime other than right now. We spent a lifetime tilling, sowing, watering, and cultivating. In our latter season we tend to be in a greater hurry to reap because time does not seem to be on our side. However, God’s timing is not the same as our timing. Just as there is a due date for the birth of a baby that requires a prescribed sequence of growth to take place in the womb, so God has a due season for the fullness of some things He wants to do in us and through us in the lives and circumstances of others. Let’s be on the alert so we won’t miss our due season.

“To everything there is a season” the writer of Ecclesiastes declares. He proceeds to detail many of the milestone events of life with contrasts: “…a time to (this)…and also a time for (that)….” In our advanced years we acknowledge God’s wisdom to bring us through many of those opposites to balance our lives.

When a fruit is in season, it is ripe, mellow, fragrant, nutritious, and at the peak of its essence. Can that be said of us? We should not bemoan the fact that we are aging; instead we should revel in our opportunity to bear fruit, more fruit, and much fruit according to Jesus’ desire and plan for the aging. The Psalmist compared the mature godly person with a palm tree that bears fruit into its hundredth year. “…They will flourish in the courts of our God; they will still yield fruit in old age; they shall be full of sap and very green….” (Psalm 92:12-15)

Arriving at our “fullness of years” is no excuse to become slack in active witness for our Lord. The Scriptures exhort us to be available to speak up for Him anytime, anywhere, “in season and out of season” despite increasing limitations of strength, health, finances, or opportunity. To be advanced in years does not give us license to retreat because of age. 

Youth and middle age have no monopoly on seeking new horizons. Let’s emulate seasoned Caleb in the Old Testament who, although well into his eighties, didn’t accept that he was finished with his life. He asked God for another big hill (mountain) to possess. Let’s sprinkle seasoning on one another to encourage mountain climbing rather than slipping back down our already attained hills. 

God has equipped us with spiritual wings to lift us over our valleys of circumstances and limitations when they try to drag us down. Our advancing years can be the most creative and productive of our lives. Let’s expect our due season right around the next corner. “The best is yet to come” can become a reality instead of a pious platitude.

If we try to turn back the clock or get stuck in the rut of yesterday, we will miss the joy of passing on to the next generation the legacy of life’s richness in Christ. Let’s join the apostle Paul in declaring, ”My entire attention is on the finish line as I run toward the prize to which God calls me—life on high in Christ Jesus. All of us who are spiritually mature must have this attitude….It is important that we continue on our course no matter what stage [phase, season] we have reached.” (Philippians 3:14-16) 

After all, those of us in the SENIOR CLASS are anticipating the exciting things we’re going to be doing after “Commencement” which some mistakenly call “The Finish Line!”

*O God Our Help in Ages Past