What Benjamin Button And I Have In Common

I’ve never seen “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.”

According to shmoop.com, it is “the story of a man who is born old and ages backwards.” I’m not aging backwards physically and emotionally like Benjamin Button, but I’ve got something in common with him. Actually I have it better than Benjamin Button.

Bless the LORD, O my soul,
and forget not all his benefits…
who satisfies you with good
so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s. PS 103:2,5

Jesus renews my youth. I’m 65. I’m not exactly going to qualify for Mr. Universe. And I’m not aging backwards. So how does Jesus renew my youth?

Youths are generally joyful. I know multitudes of children suffer, but generally kids are happy. And most parents want to give their children happy childhoods. When I was a young dad I wanted to make as many happy memories for my kids as I could. I am no longer physically youthful but God regularly fills me with his joy. This doesn’t mean I have no sadness. In John 15:11 Jesus said his joy would be in us and our joy would be full. Even in tough times, Jesus fills me with joy that is deeper and gives me a hope of everlasting joy.

Youths don’t tend worry about things – they trust their their parents to take care of them. Children don’t fret about who’s going to pay the bills and who’ll put their next meal on the table. They just trust their parents to take care of them. As we abide in Jesus he teaches us to trust him. He tells us not to worry about tomorrow or be anxious about what we will eat or wear. And the longer we walk with him the more of his peace we experience. I have seen my God provide again and again and know he’ll continue.

Children have a sense of excitement about the future. When I was a kid I couldn’t wait for Christmas. I was excited about baseball season. I looked forward to the next episodes of Zorro and The Flintstones. Jesus gives his children a future and a hope. I know he has plans for me. I have an eternal hope of seeing him face-to-face. He renews my hope of heaven again and again.

Children believe their parents – they aren’t cynical. As I meditate on God’s word he regularly gives me faith. I believe my heavenly Father. Sure, there are many prayers I keep asking him to answer. There are things in life I don’t understand. But God renews my child-like faith every day.

He renews my youth like the eagle.

Eagles are powerful. When I see an eagle I don’t think “weakness.” God fills his people with the Holy Spirit. He gives us power to overcome sin and strength to get through hard times. We are more than conquerors through him who loved us.

Eagles soar. Even in pain Jesus lifts me up. He is my glory and the lifter of my head. He lifts my eyes above my troubles to see that he is using them to make me like Christ. He reminds me that my afflictions are light and momentary compared to the eternal wait of glory he is producing through them. Jesus said that in the world we will have tribulation but he has overcome the world. As we abide in Jesus, like the eagle, he lifts us up above the world.

Eagles are fearless. Jesus regularly removes my fears. Again and again he tells me “Fear not.” He commands me to be anxious for nothing but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving to make my requests known to him and his peace which surpasses understanding will guard my heart and mind in Christ Jesus.

As 2015 ends, take time to remember the Lord’s benefits and blessings and bless him for them. Happy new year!

Mark Altrogge

I’m a pastor at Saving Grace Church in Indiana, PA. I’m married to Kristi, have 5 kids, and a growing number of grandkids. I enjoy songwriting, oil painting and coffee, not necessarily in that order.