Longevity. This is how long you have done something, been faithful, held a job, a career, a relationship. It is measured in days and years. It is the accumulation of ups and downs, good days and bad, happy and sad, intense love and distant commitment. It has endured. It is seasoned with experiences, places, people. It has survived discouragement and bouts of depression. It has survived euphoria, pipe dreams, hopes, and the crash of some of those.
Yet, longevity in anything deserves respect. Those who have been married for many years deserve the respect of all. They overcame hardship, arguments, silence, and loud disagreement. They have the joy of deep loving moments and the sadness of losses. They traveled that road of life together.
Longevity has to adjust. Each decade presents its challenges. The early ones find us looking for meaning and place, destiny for some, making a living, adjusting to adulthood. The next decade will find us learning to raise children and balance spouse, children, and job. The next decade begins to cause us to evaluate as to whether we will ever reach our life goals. Teenagers, job demands, and maintaining a meaningful relationship face us daily. The challenges of mid life crises appear and the temptations to quit, have an affair, change professions, divorce, throw it all away and start over are present in the thinking of all. The next decade could be one of just resignation and drift toward retirement, or it could be a season of determined reinvestment in family, job, marriage. Then come the years where couples have to find themselves again because everything they had been living for and working for has changed. The kids are gone and an empty nest makes two people find new purpose and relationship. This area is particularly hard on women because they usually have given all for the kids. Some live long enough to have great grand kids and some even great, greats. The decline in strength and health approaches all in this phase. Each decade has its challenges that must be faced. Learning and adapting never ends.
Longevity in faith is similar. We have the times where we are fervent, white hot with desire for spiritual things. We follow hard after God. We read voraciously the Bible. We search and research for understanding. Then come the days when we just lose interest. The Bible becomes dry straw and prayer is liking slinging spaghetti against the wall. But longevity does not quit. There may be ups and downs, but there is no quit in the dry periods. The temptations of faith are similar to other areas. You do not walk away and go to the world for substitutions. You do not throw away your faith and follow worldly philosophies or worse, go to other religions that are dead, but ritualistic. You wait on the Lord and again you will mount up with the wings of eagles.
I noticed when I was younger and still notice it, there are very few who hold fast to the faith throughout their lives. Older people do not turn to the Lord as they come closer to death. They are stuck in their unbelief and are calcified to the gospel. They did not “endure to the end.”
Longevity deserves respect!