What Is Forty Supposed to Look Like?

What is Forty Supposed to Look Like?

I remember a co-worker turning forty when I was a twenty-something still wet behind the college ears. Other co-workers decorated his cubicle with black balloons and banners with phrases of dread, e.g., “Happy Birthday, Dave. You’ve got one foot in the grave” and “New Member of the Over-the-Hill Gang”. I remember forty seemed very far away.

Then I blinked.

It’s that year. I’m turning forty in less than a week. Some might say I’ve looked forty for years with the rapid on-set of gray (my wife calls it silver) hair.

I don’t know exactly what forty is supposed to look like but I get the idea that wisdom should be a huge part of it after four decades on earth.

There have been times where I haven’t felt too-wise despite the gray hair.

Looking back on some stubborn times in my life, I liken myself more to a toddler trying to loosen myself from God’s grip instead of a man seeking the wisest decision.

However, despite the failings, I am grateful that looking back on four decades is not an exercise in shame but a celebration of the grace, mercy and wisdom God has provided me.

He has given me new life through the perfect life, death and resurrection of His son Jesus Christ. I have a relationship with God that grows stronger each day as I seek Him, praise Him and trust Him. That is the start of wisdom.

What I am glad to know is that I’ll always need God. I needed Him in my past. I will need Him in the future. I need Him today. It’s the recognition of that need that I believe sets us on the true path to Godly wisdom.

The great thing is you don’t have to wait until you are twenty, thirty, forty or eighty. God grants wisdom to all who seek it.

Godly wisdom is of an eternal nature and value and not confined to years, pedigree, accomplishments or education. It is also available in unlimited supply on a daily basis.

I still don’t know what forty is supposed to look like from a human standard. Each one of us has our own story. Trials and triumphs come in all different packages.

I do know that with forty around the corner for me, my outlook on what it means to reach this age is a lot more hopeful and less gray.

My wife would say I found a silver lining.

“Gray hair is a crown of glory; it is gained in a righteous life.” – Proverbs 16:31

“The beginning of wisdom is this: Get wisdom, and whatever you get, get insight.” – Proverbs 4:7

“Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.” – Colossians 3:16

“The glory of young men is their strength, but the splendor of old men is their gray hair.” – Proverbs 20:29 

“Even to your old age I am he, and to gray hairs I will carry you. I have made, and I will bear; I will carry and will save.” – Isaiah 46:4

I am a man who loves his wife, Jessica, his daughter, Clara, his family, his friends and his church. Jesus Christ makes this all possible. He has made the difference in my life and I hope you encounter the difference He can make in yours.

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