My mother has slowed way down physically. The woman who used to mow the 1½-acre lawn in Rhode Island, and who could yank the lawnmower into submission with that pull cord when I could not, now needs to hold my arm to descend the curbstone. She who was embarrassed only two years ago to try out a motorized wheelchair at the Jersey shore now seeks out the red, bulky drivable shopping cart at the supermarket.
That's the bad news. But the good news is that my mother is now clinging to Christ and she wasn't for the previous 79 years. The good news is much more important than the bad news. God puts both bad and good news together in one verse, to show the surpassing significance of the good:
"So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day" (2 Corinthians 4:16).
The wasting away part is a "given." We are all wasting away. The only exceptions are those who don't get a chance to waste away because they are cut down in the midst of their lives. The wonderful thing about the way God has ordained the number of my mother's days is that He did not cut her down suddenly; He allowed her a season to feel her debility-and debility drew her to Him.
There is a phrase in the famous "hall of faith" chapter that goes like this:
". . . were made strong out of weakness . . ." (Hebrews 11:34).
Whatever else and whoever else that verse refers to (like maybe Gideon manning up after years of hiding in the winepress), it refers also to my mother. Her body is a wreck but her soul has never been so healthy. Out of weakness, she is strong.