“Therefore we do not give up; even though our outer person is being destroyed, our inner person is being renewed day by day.” 2 Corinthians 4:16 CSB
Tomorrow is my fiftieth birthday, although by the time you read this I’ll already be a month into my new year on earth. Decade birthdays are always milestones…10th, 20th, 30th, 40th, 50th…they represent a period of time in your life that is easy to identify. When we turned 10 we hit the “double digits” in age. Our 20’s are the mark of adulthood, by our 30’s we’re starting to reap the benefits or repercussions of our 20’s. My 40’s were a period of drastic life changes for me in every possible way, I don’t know that it’s true for everyone. I have fear of my fifties because I’m older and wiser. I know more than ever how life can change in 10 years, but I don’t have to be fearful. God knows our physical bodies will break down, but our spirit never will. He will renew our spirit daily for us if we allow Him. When our Spirit is strong, it doesn’t matter how weak our outer bodies are, nothing can stop us.
Joni Eareckson Tada always comes to mind when I think of someone who had a body that was frail, but a spirit that is unstoppable. On July 30, 1967 she dived into the Chesapeake Bay, not realizing it was shallow water. She fractured her spine and was instantly a quadripalegic. After two years of intense rehabilitation, she was able to write and paint by holding the pen or brush in her teeth. Joni has a faith in Jesus like rarely seen. She has taken her disability and used it to change the world. She has written over 50 books, a movie has been made about her life and she runs a non-profit, Joni and Friends. Her non profit is how Joni shares the gospel with others impacted with disabilities. And she did all of that from a wheelchair, writing with a pen grasped between her teeth. Joni has not let the accident that so drastically changed her life at 17 keep her from accomplishing God’s will. Her faith in God is what renews her every day for the battle ahead. And He can do the same for us.
If we’re to face our fears of aging, or our bodies betraying us physically, we have to do it with God. We have to let Him be the One to renew our spirit in ways only He can. When we let God do the leading, and renewing, we find ourselves on exciting adventures. I find myself on a vacation of a lifetime, celebrating my birthday in a place I’ve longed to visit. The journey that led me here didn’t start today, or two weeks ago, it’s a journey that has been happening over the course of a lifetime as I chose to place one foot after the other and follow Jesus. As Paul told the Corinthians so long ago, he says the same to us today. Don’t give up, even though your outer body may fail you, your spirit never will. Each day, God is waiting to renew you and strengthen you for the day ahead. All you have to do is let Him.