When you grow old, you will stretch out your hands. 

When you read Jesus’ words to Peter, you probably immediately think of Peter’s crucifixion.  And with good reason!   Jesus was predicting “by what kind of death Peter would glorify God”.

But there’s a message here for each one of us also—especially as we ourselves grow old or care for aging loved ones.   Peter didn’t just stretch out his hands on the upside- down cross.   He stretched them out every day as he served the Church, until the very end of his life.

No doubt, aging isn’t a walk in the park.   You’re not as strong or agile as when you were younger.   You may find it harder to recall a name or to follow a line of reasoning.   Maybe you need help with chores you once handled easily on your own.   You may have to give up some of your independence, along with some dreams that are no longer realistic.

But take heart!   The psalmist assures you that you can “bear fruit even in old age”.  How?   By trying to be open to the unique forms of grace available in this season of your life.  Maybe you aren’t able to do the things you used to do—not for yourself, your family, or your church.   But don’t let that burden you.   God isn’t done with you.   He has other opportunities in store for you.

For instance, if you’re finding that everything seems to take longer and you can’t crowd as many activities into your day, that may be God asking you to simplify your life.   Try to focus on what matters most: loving and being loved.   If you aren’t able to do as much for your family or friends, you can develop a new appreciation for just being with them or lifting them up in prayer.   Even your need to depend on family or friends more can help you learn more about how we all need one another as members of the body of Christ.   In fact, by letting people serve you, you are giving them a chance to grow!

Just like Peter, you can stretch out your hands to the people around you as you grow older.   God still has plenty for you to do!

word among us