Now behold, the Lord has let me live, just as He spoke, these forty-five years, from the time that the Lord spoke this word to Moses, when Israel walked in the wilderness; and now behold, I am eighty-five years old today. I am still as strong today as I was in the day Moses sent me. As my strength was then, so my strength is now. – Joshua 14:10,11. People are living longer these days and, for many, getting older is a real thrill. But most people suffer some anxiety about aging.
Intrusive thoughts about impotence (the loss of physical strength), irrelevance, independence and impairment become more pervasive as we age. But “Life is not a sprint; it’s a marathon.” A full life is about never giving up, about persevering, of burning slowly, extendedly and expectantly.
So, to those who have reached the age where you are now considered “historically conditioned,” it just might be that God has chosen this season for you to get your second wind.
The second wind is a phenomenon in distance running, like the marathon, whereby an athlete who too out of breath and too tired to continue suddenly finds the strength to press on at top performance. Second winds can occur in other areas of life besides sports. Some relationships can use the second wind. Some careers can use the second wind. Some spiritual attitudes and activities may need the second wind. Not last breath, not last wind but second wind.
Samuel Ullman once said, “Nobody grows old merely by living a number of years. Years may wrinkle the skin but to give up enthusiasm wrinkles the soul.”
Caleb authored the words of our Scripture today. He never stopped growing, even though he had a right at age 85 to sit down and take it easy. He survived 40 years of wandering in the wilderness and then the invasion of Canaan. Of the thousands who left Egypt, he and Joshua were the only ones the Lord allowed to cross the Jordan River into the Promised Land.
First, he was reflective about where he was. He said the lord kept him alive. The implication is that he was not kept alive just to exist but to exist for a purpose. He also related to what was happening around him. Many of those from his group were stuck on average and did not completely follow the Lord.
But the Bible declares that Caleb “fully followed the Lord.” His consecration to the Lord was thorough and his commitment was unwavering. In the Hebrew language, that phrase “fully followed” means there was no gap between Caleb and God.
Caleb also rejected the popular notions of his day. There were those who had “grasshopper” mentalities, who said, “We can’t do it.” Then there were those who were afraid of the “Giants.” And all of us have giants in our lives: financial problems, sickness, family difficulties, distress, doubt. And we can’t defeat giants without faith. Giants, strongholds, and barricades can be overcome.
Dr. Benjamin E. Mays said, “It must be borne in mind that the tragedy of life doesn’t lie in not reaching your goal. The tragedy lies in having no goal to reach. Not failure but low aim is sin.”
For Caleb, age was no barrier in doing God’s will. God keeps His people alive as long as they need to be in order to fulfill all that He has planned for them. Caleb got his second wind.
You think you’re too old, too young, too inexperienced, too feeble, too slow, too tired? Well, you’ve come too far to give up now. Take a deep breath and get your second wind.
Lord, help us to sincerely believe that the best is yet to come and that you are not finished getting glory out of our lives. Give us renewed strength to finish the race. Help us get our second wind. Amen!
Walter T. Richardson is pastor-emeritus of Sweet Home Missionary Baptist Church in South Miami-Dade County and chairman of the Miami-Dade Community Relations Board. He may be contacted at wtrichardson@Bellsouth.net . Website: WTRMinistries.com