It is a similar feeling to when I open the Bible and read about amazing people who simply obeyed God above all else. Hebrews 11 verse 8 says, "By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place that he was to receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going." Abraham was 75 years old at this time.
Gloria Hardy is a truly inspiring senior citizen, and not because of what she has done specifically, but because of her willingness to obey (The Master's Touch, 201, Gloria Hardy). She was feeling very disgruntled with her life in Melbourne. Here she was, a 51-year-old swim coach, whose children were now adults. How could God use her? All she knew was swimming. What could God do with swimming anyway?
In 1991 after watching a news story about the brutal regime of Saddam Hussein and how thousands who had fled were now left as refugees struggling to survive in the mountains, Gloria's life changed. She rang an organisation who was preparing to send a team to assist these refugees. Gloria said, "You'd better know that I am 52!" The reply she received was, "that's ok, if you'd like to, come."
And from there began a journey for Gloria. God led her to teach swimming to Muslim men in war-torn Iraq, to orphans in Lombok and throughout Uganda (The Master's Touch, 2011). God used her talents in swimming but also uncovered so many other gifts along the way that have blessed and nurtured people all over the world. At a low point in her life she was willing to obey even though she felt she had nothing to offer anyone.
Then there was Lorena
Lorena Mayhugh is from the other side of the world but is an equally inspiring senior citizen. When her husband died suddenly, Lorena faced one of the hardest times in her life as a 48-year-old single mother who didn't know how to drive. "Bad things happen to everyone," she reflects, "when bad things happen, we can get closer to the Lord or we can get bitter" (www.imb.org).
She married again some years later and in their 60's she and her husband retired. They decided to both retrain as electricians to provide a service to new churches. For the next 10 years they served together in this ministry into their 70's, when her second husband passed away.
On her own, at 81, Lorene felt the Lord strongly calling her to Thailand, to serve there with a mission organisation. She has stayed on in Thailand and now 10 years down the track, at 91, she tutors Thai professionals in English. Despite losing both her husbands and being in the end years of her life, Lorena was willing to obey.
Some days Lorena feels the effects of living through nine decades. She's had a hip replacement, suffered through dengue fever and recovered from a fall. Her eyesight is growing worse, but her spirit is indomitable. "My hip hurts when I'm sitting at home just as much, so why sit?" she shrugs. "God sent me here. This is where I belong right now," she says. "When He wants me to go back home, I'll go. When He's through with me in Thailand, He'll let me know (www.imb.org)."
We can read about such people as Gloria and Lorena and think what lovely old ladies doing a lovely job. Or we can be challenged and moved that no matter what adversity life throws at us and no matter how lacking we feel, if we are willing, God wants to use us for His glory. Both in the here and now and throughout the years we have left to live.
1 Corinthians 15 verse 58 says, "Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labour in the Lord is not in vain."
Laura Veloso is wife to John and the mother of 3 young boys. She is trained in child welfare and primary school teaching and has experience in overseas missions and youth leadership.
Laura Veloso's archive of articles may be viewed at www.pressserviceinternational.org/laura-veloso.html