The Dangers of Mid-Life

Gail Sheehy in her 1974 best-seller "Passages" told of the predictable crises of life. One of those is mid-life, defined by "Psychology Today" as between the ages of 40 and 60. Elliot Jaques coined the phrase "mid-life crisis" in 1965 and we've commonly adopted his phrase as a descriptor of the aberrant behavior so many display.

The key stressors include aging parents and the death of parents, illnesses suggesting our own mortality, job issues and marital strife. Montgomery counselor Don Hill told of a mid-life counselee who came in and announced to his wife he'd quit his job and bought a farm. "A farm!" she exclaimed. "You've never been on a farm. What are you talking about?"

I suppose this was the plot for the old sitcom "Green Acres"!

David's sin with Bathsheba may be largely understood as a mid-life crisis. Nothing is said about his father or brothers, so David may've had no family support. Did he fear he was getting old? Was he like Alexander the Great who wept when there were no more challenges in life? Or was it the thrill of doing something daring and dangerous?

Whatever the case, he lusted after another man's wife and had relations with her. When she announced her pregnancy he was even more sinister. He summoned her husband from the war and tried to convince him to be father to the king's son. When Uriah failed to cooperate, the king sent him back to battle with a note to the general. Uriah carried his own death warrant.

God sent the prophet Nathan to confront David in his sin. To his credit, David immediately owned up to his wrong and begged God's forgiveness.

President Clinton visited Nelson Mandela in South Africa just after Clinton's impeachment. Mandela told him, "The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall."

Think about some well-known people who fell to rise again.

Charles Colson went to prison for his Watergate crimes, and left his heart there. He developed new compassion for inmates and founded Prison Fellowship to encourage them in prison and prevent recidivism after prison.

Jim Bakker ran a multi-million dollar TV network when he was sent to prison for six years. There he did the most menial of tasks: scrubbing toilets. But he rose and preaches on TV every day.

Pastor and writer Gordon McDonald failed in his marriage, but repented. His books such as "Rebuilding Your Broken World" have encouraged thousands.

The bad news is that you will stumble. You will fall. You will disappoint yourself and others.

The good news is that God is merciful. He will be your partner in rebuilding life.