The old poet laments: "I have become a 'portent' to many" (Psalm 71:7).
A portent is a sign that something unpleasant is about to happen. That’s what old folks are to the young—an ominous sign that foreshadows their own destiny: Someday, barring an accident, they too will be old.
That's a terrible shock to the cult of youth and beauty.
A number of years ago a friend told me about a conversation he had with a very attractive young woman. In the course of their exchange he said to her, “You have remarkable poise for a young person. To what do you attribute that trait?” “Oh,” she responded, “I’m pretty.” “Oh, I’m sorry,” my friend replied with great wisdom. “Sorry!” she exclaimed. “Sorry for what?” He paused and replied, “Because someday, you won’t be pretty.”
Since everyone we meet is aging, it occurs to me that one of the duties of the elderly must be to show young folks that growing old can a good thing—if they grow old with God. The elderly poet writes, “I have become as a portent to many, but You are my strong refuge (Psalm 71:7).
The strength of grace does not fail with the passage of time. "The best is yet to be..." Our last days can be our best days and our last work can be our best work if we go in the strength of the One who is our "continual" refuge and joy (Psalm 71:3,6).
Lord, what I once had done with youthful might,
Had I been from the first true to the truth,
Grant me, now old, to do—with better sight,
And humbler heart, if not the brain of youth.