"And If By Reason of Strength They be Four Score Years."
Psalm 90:10

Ten more years, an extension of time,
They are a long stretch at the end of the line.
A mere shadow in passing, in this vale of tears,
When the Creator counts time, in thousands of years.
In His wisdom and counsel, there’s no thought of mistake,
His decree is fulfilled for His glory and name’s sake.

How shall I use time so graciously given?
To waste a day, an hour, is heavy to mind.
The Father’s mercies make one conscious of time,
Shut off from duties that once were my role.
My memory is flogged to recall just a name.
I look in the mirror, and old face I see,
Wrinkled and creased, it’s certainly changed,
My hair is snow-white, so sparse and so thin;
My hearing is poor, I’m not sure what you said.
Self pity is knocking, what use am I now?
Conversation! I wish I knew how
To sound less boring, not repeat it once more,
I’m sure I have told it so often before.

Looking back over years, ‘long the winding track,
Through those years, now gone, of health and of strength,
I am now ready to pause, submit and confess,
My wise Heavenly Father knew the time and place,
When work would be finished – I must look to his face.

Looking within at seventy years –
Maybe eighty – there are many doubts and fears.
Satan attacks when sleepless at night,
Don’t think years make you immune from this plight.
We’re all guilty of harsh words, anger and strife,
And Satan’s charges are ever accusing –
It makes us feel poor – even strangers to grace.

‘A servant of sin’ is the accusation laid;
Misery our portion, failure o’er and o’er.
And death surely will claim every person,
No matter what country or colour his skin.
Looking in – brings condemnation, depression
And fear – I must look elsewhere
For my burdens I no longer can bear.

The refiner’s fire must test all our good works.
It’s searing heat and glowing coals
Search into our beings and tear at our souls.
Satan would destroy us, but the Lord stands between,
Whether it be a “Goliath”, a “lion or a bear”
Of “beasts at Ephesus” – and powers that oppose.
The means are at hand – to conquer, grow stronger –
The Lord has ordained it for the good of our souls.
After the cloud, a sunbeam shines through,
My heart is uplifted, the curtain aside.
Now I’ll look out and away from myself.
The Creator, Almighty, said, “let there be light”.
It shone forth from heaven, acclaimed “Very good!”

Now, He who changed darkness and issued that light,
Has promised in Scripture to shine in our hearts
With power and insight to see His dear Son.
Christ is that Light, eternal, everlasting,
The Spirit of truth shining within,
It brings forth the faith and knowledge for us
That He has purchased all our salvation,
To deliver from darkness and bondage of sin.

I open the door and look out again.
Faith paints a picture I’ve not seen before
Or made time to ponder and meditate on
In change of the seasons and calendar years.

The garden’s my work place when weather is fine;
The workshop and lathe, when raining, fills the time.
Climbing a ladder, the trees to clip short,
Digging the veggie beds is nothing to me;
A spell now and then, a minute or two,
Years are forgotten, I plan on ahead,
Even trips I presume I could take.
Tomorrow I’ll rise early, go into town
For reservations, tickets, I’ll soon be away.
Some say I’m too old to travel so far
They’re in for a shock – I don’t mind them smiling.
This time I’m confident they have misjudged me!

The morning has dawned, I should be astir,
I had no pains yesterday, now they are there.
What did I write about three score and ten?
It was when I retired some years ago.
I had for a moment forgotten the
Turning of seasons that spell out the years.
No, I won’t get up early as I had so planned,
I’ll not cross the continent, seek out my friends.
My Lord holds my life in the palm of His hand,
He’d ordained something else than crossing the land.

Those pains grew worse as day followed day.
Doc said, “A new hip and soon a new knee
The way you are going; a new life-style will be -
No more long journeys nor climbing a tree.”

Hedged in and about where only faith can give thanks,
The arms of the Saviour circling round me;
I know that He loves me – and this reason
For living, and a quite different life,
Take away all regrets, frustration and strife.

He says His word is a lamp unto my feet,
And a light unto my path - that is true
Sure ‘tis His word that will show me the way,
Equip with provisions, my feet shall not stray.
Now, this is that word that the Lord said to me,
“For all things are yours, I give them to thee,
How to use them – seek diligently,
From the Lord do enquire, make them your goal,
A blessing they’ll be to your heart and your soul.”

“The world is yours” – a spiritual gift,
How will I use it? Please open my eyes
And see those who the Gospel would heed
And my neighbours who are in great need.

“Life is yours”, the apostle does quote,
Extension of years, not to sow, reap and store;
But preparation for eternity
And reconciliation with God,
Assurance of salvation, learning of Him.

“Death is yours”, there is no other way –
But Christ has been there and says not to fear.
He says, “I’ll go with you and ever be near”.
You may go meet this stranger, what day or the year;
It is His name and righteousness that has blotted out charges – fulfilled all the law;
The robe of His righteousness, the covering for me!

“Things present are yours”– He supplies daily bread.
“Things to come are yours”– there’s no likeness on earth
Can compare with the glory of heaven,
Prepared there a mansion that’s waiting for me.

Whatever our strength, the years never stop,
Our bodies earthen vessels, of them we can’t boast;
Not fitted for heaven, they belong to this earth,
So soon we must leave them to go to the Lord.
Now vessels of clay do not last for ever,
But shatter and crumble, they crack and they break;
So our bodies do likewise in the process of time.
But by God’s grace, a vision He shows to his own,
It is there for their comfort, peace and support.

This vision does show us the way to find rest
In the face of the Lord Jesus – look and be blest.
His face does reflect what He holds in His heart,
Purchased in suffering and dying for sin.
There is nothing can ever befall us
That he has not suffered and been there before.
He’s risen victorious, for us, over all.

Dear saint, from His eternal love he says,
“Your sins are atoned for and covered from sight.
Death is not fearful, I have risen to show
There is no valley to halt you. Come unto me.
Heaven is waiting, with Me ever abide.”

Take heart, take comfort, whatever your state,
Look often to Jesus, the Messenger of God.
His face reflects the glory and love He bestows.
Eternal blessings ours daily and joy to our souls.
To God be the glory, whatever the time,
His grace is sufficient, by faith I see Him.
His face turned toward me, His voice is so clear,
Come unto me – no matter the time, the day or the year.

Peter Carins 2001

(See 1 Corinthians 3 and 2 Corinthians 4)