Christ Is the Staff of Old Age

Samuel RutherfordA tiny book has been feeding my soul recently, The Loveliness of Christ: Extracts from the Letters of Samuel Rutherford. Writers like Paul and Bunyan and Rutherford, who wrote much from the midst of suffering seem to have a clearer view of eternity and reality than those of us who suffer the mists of comfort.

In July 1636 Rutherford was summoned to appear before the High Commission Court to answer of his Nonconformity to the Acts of Episcopacy, and also on account of his treatise against Arminians; and as a consequence was forbidden to exercise his ministry anywhere in the kingdom of Scotland, and to confine himself to the city of Aberdeen. It was while confined to this place that the greater portion of his Letters were written. Richard Baxter’s opinion of them is well worth quoting: “Hold off the Bible; such a book the world never saw.” (p. xvi)

Yesterday morning, as I was rememorizing Psalm 71:18 (“Even to old age and grey hairs, O God, do not forsake me . . .”), I read this excerpt:

Happy are they who are found watching. Our sand-glass is not so long as we need to weary: time will eat away and root out our woes and sorrow: our heaven is in the bud, and growing up to an harvest; why then should we not follow on, seeing our span-length of time will come to an inch? Therefore I commend Christ to you as the staff of your old age: let him have now the rest of your days; and think not much of a storm upon the ship that Christ saileth in; there shall no passenger fall overboard; but the crazed ship and the sea-sick passenger shall come to land safe. (p. 55)

John Piper (@JohnPiper) is founder and teacher of desiringGod.org and chancellor of Bethlehem College & Seminary. For 33 years, he served as pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church, Minneapolis, Minnesota. He is author of more than 50 books.