“We all growl like bears; we moan and moan like doves” (Isaiah 59:11).
I see it all around—people growling like bears, people moaning like doves. The road rage “bears” erupt with little provocation, their rage always just below the surface, attesting to the state of civilization better than any scientific study.
The indifferent “moaners” drag themselves from day to day, living for their 15-minute breaks, having the same conversations day after day, surrounding themselves with little hobbies, robotically ensconced in routine, thumbing through old magazines with a sigh, offering dry prayers they are not interested in, too weary to live but scared to die.
Ecclesiastes depicts the sunset years of a man’s life in images that are elusive in your 20s but full of resonance in your 60s:
“… the sun and the light and the moon and the stars are darkened … the keepers of the house tremble, and the strong men are bent, and the grinders cease because they are few, and those who look through the windows are dimmed, and the doors on the street are shut—when the sound of the grinding is low, and one rises up at the sound of a bird, and all the daughters of song are brought low … the grasshopper drags itself along, and desire fails, because man is going to his eternal home, and the mourners go about the streets—before the silver cord is snapped, or the golden bowl is broken, or the pitcher is shattered at the fountain, or the wheel broken at the cistern. …”
But nowadays I wonder if the author had in mind not only the individual in his advancing decrepitude but the whole of society on its last leg: the insipidness, the lethargy, the dryness, the numbness, the jadedness to an endless variety of evil.
Checking out mentally and spiritually, and just “letting oneself go” in the current of cynicism and ennui are a strong temptation. But it does not have to be, and for a Christian it is not an option. There is renewed strength in God for those who seek him earnestly:
“He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength. Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; but they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint” (Isaiah 40:29-31).