Devotional – “Use By” Date

Joshua 13:1 When Joshua was old and well advanced in years, the LORD said to him, “You are very old, and there are still very large areas of land to be taken over.”

Boy, God sure is blunt. “Hi there. You’re old. But there’s still work to do. Let’s go.” In the subsequent chapter, God lays out for Joshua all the lands he’s yet to conquer and that the Lord will be with him as Israel takes over many kingdoms. He’ll be defeating kings and waging war on a grand scale. All of this, as (apparently) a very old man. Talk about an active retirement!Now, I’m not old. Well, I did turn 30 this year, and to some that is one foot in the grave. My sister’s 4th grade class thinks 23 is ancient. Old or not, I’ve done a lot of longing for my teenage years since turning the big 3-0. Remembering a time when the world was my oyster. When nothing seemed impossible and the promise of the future stretched in front of me like perfect endless sand on the shore. I had no fear then. No worry of what my life might turn out like. In blissful ignorance I reached the cusp of adulthood, protected and sheltered from the ugliness of life. I was incredibly blessed by my parents – I got to cherish my full childhood. I didn’t have to grow up until I was ready. Now, looking back on those years, I truly realize what a gift my childhood was. Sometimes I pine for those days. I remember how powerful I felt, like there was nothing too big for me to accomplish. As I’ve aged, I’ve lost that somehow. As I get bogged down by the daily necessities of life, I forget that feeling of invincibility. Instead of unbridled enthusiasm and expectation, I operate out of fear, excuses and reasons I can’t. Somehow I feel like I’ve missed my opportunity to do something great with my life. Like it’s just too late to start.

I love this verse in Joshua because it spoke to me exactly where I am. God is not telling Israel’s leader that he’s going to magically be young again. The Lord doesn’t come to Joshua with promises of renewed vigor or strength. God lays it on the line. Tells it like it is. And for Joshua that meant recognizing the supposed limitations of his age, and doing what God was commanding anyway. God’s twist on the old saying is apparently “If you’re old, do it old.” The Lord doesn’t have a “use by” date on me. Or you. There are no hindrances in His plans. When God has something for us to do, He really doesn’t care about our excuses. Today I choose to believe the Lord still has very large areas of land for me to take over. Big plans. Great things in store for me. I haven’t seen my best days already. I’m nowhere near my peak. All the promise of my youth is still there when I submit myself to God’s perfect plans for my life. No matter how far past my “use by” date I feel.

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