Growing Old in Grace

(Click on photo to go to the source)

I know of many people who grew old, and died, without experiencing the fellowship of the Holy Spirit.

I knew her since I was small. We savored her ripe guavas stewed in rich coconut milk in a big, steaming pot in hot summer afternoons. But even to her twilight years, she wouldn’t hear any of the Lord Jesus Christ, except when she was already very weak in bed when my beloved mother visited her and told her about Him. Was it already too late? Did she go down to the grave grateful and happy? Did she leave having known and experienced the holy presence of the Lord? I can’t be certain.

My grandfather, in his aging years, hibernated in his room alone and wouldn’t relish talking to anybody, except to me, because I would insist in staying in his room and pepper him with questions. I was just so young then, but I remember my grandfather not being in good relationship with the people in his life, but maintained a daily and vital connection with his Siok Tong (a dark, local wine). He was like unreachable. He had fights with family. Did he go down to his grave with anger, or bitterness, in his heart? When he died, a family member found him slumped on the floor on his knees. Did he have time to ask forgiveness? No one knew.

And there were still others…

I am truly sad that it happened that way for them.

A close relative grows old fearing and worrying everyday about illnesses (and other concerns) that she might have, and so she spends a lot for  medical check-ups and medicines for this and that, but I believe she doesn’t really have serious ailments (for she’s physically well). I believe her constant fears are the ones that are limiting her to live fully, with thankfulness and joy. She goes to church regularly, but why can’t she get to trust the Lord completely? Is it the absence of the Holy Spirit in her heart? I pray that she would come to really know the Lord Jesus Christ and the fellowship of His presence.

And I know of a loved one (and in this I am deeply grieved) who has been working so hard these many decades, providing for family, paying mortgage, etc., that all the toiling and worrying are now catching up with her: she has been diagnosed with heart disease. I pray that one of these days I could be able to reach out to her and tell her that there is rest from all the toils and worries and illnesses, and that rest is in Jesus Christ. (She lives in the other side of the globe).

The elders in our Church are truly blessed. They live their days praising the Lord, sharing the Gospel and their testimonies, winning souls, and offering prayers with fasting. Most of them are being used by the Lord in His vineyard as prayer warriors (fast and pray for long periods regularly) and singers in the Adults’ Choir. They dedicate their sunset years solely to the Lord – loving, worshiping, and serving Him fervently and faithfully.

As with the other worshipers in Church, they experience the fullness of the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, and they live in daily joy and thanksgiving.

These thoughts bring me to two of the elderly women whose powerful duet one Friday overnight worship service inspired me to write this article.

Beloved sisters-in-Christ Esther Villanueva and "Mamay" Belen Aunor.

Sister Belen Aunor (or beloved Mamay Belen as she’s fondly called; aunt of “superstar” Ms. Nora Aunor) is in her eighties. She often offers a song to the Lord during Friday overnight worship service while playing the guitar. [To read her detailed testimony, click here].

Sister Esther Villanueva is nearing eighty. She sang in zarzuelas in her younger years. She had been blind for a year before she found her Savior. After she accepted the Lord Jesus and was baptized in His name, she regained her eyesight, and ever since, she’s been singing to the Lord, and no one could stop her.

Imagine the surprise and delight of everyone in church when these two elderly women decided to sing duet while Sis. Belen played the guitar! An alto and a soprano singing their hearts out to the Lord – it was a sight to behold! And the energy? They will give younsgters a run for their money! Halleluia!

There’s no other, more gracious way to grow old but in the love of and fellowship with the Lord Jesus Christ through His Spirit. The faithful Father gives us this assurance:

One comment on “Growing Old in Grace

  1. Charlotte says:

    What a blessing to have these two ladies in your life. Thank you for sharing them.

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