Dr. John C. Vaughn has pastored the Faith Baptist Church in Greenville, South Carolina since 1977. Under his leadership, the church has grown from 40 members to over 1,400. In addition to over 70 outreach ministries conducted by Faith Baptist Church there are over 80 missionaries and ministries supported around the world.
In May of 1978, the Vaughns’’ home was destroyed by fire leaving Mrs. Vaughn and their two-year-old daughter Becky severely burned. This experience has brought into existence the unique ministry of the Hidden Treasure Christian School for the handicapped.
Fleming Revell released, in May 1994, a book by the Vaughns entitled More Precious than Gold: The Fiery Trial of a Family’’s Faith which tells their story.
The following Message of Hope written by Dr. Vaughn, entitled "A Winter Song-Psalm 71", originally appeared in Today’s Christian Senior*, Vol 2, No. 3.
A WINTER SONG PSALM 71
by Dr. John C. Vaughn
Sometimes the humor about failing memories is not as funny as it used to be. When it becomes personal, it can become painful. But God will still bless his Word, and we can still claim His promises.
I once heard a lady say, I don't have a very good memory any more, but I still have some very good memories. Good memories are some of the greatest blessings we carry with us into the winter of our lives.
Psalm 71 may be a glimpse into Davids memories, possibly Samuels, or even Jeremiahs. Various commentators have suggested these men as possible authors of this psalm. While those around him were shivering in the coldness of old age, this man lifted his voice in a winter song.
Whoever the human author of this divinely inspired reverie was, we know that he had good memories and either a good memory or a well worn Bible, because every verse in this Psalm appears somewhere else in the Psalms!
He collected 24 verses and assembled them in a new way to express his thoughts about his trials and troubles in the first thirteen verses then to declare his trust and testimony in the rest of the psalm.
Commentator John Phillips calls Psalm 71 The Song of a Godly Old Man. Here are the prayers and praises of a man who could tell us about Gods faithfulness because he had proved God faithful.
It is one thing to sing Rock of Ages, or A Mighty Fortress. It is another to author the words, Thou art my rock and my fortress. As human frailty encroaches, it is comforting to know from experience that divine faithfulness embraces. This old man was firm in his faith because he was on familiar territory. He could say, thou art my trust from my youth. In fact, I have been holden up from the womb! He knew that God had always been there from the first day of his life. He would have no trouble trusting God in the winter of his life.
What a wonderful goal it would be for us to frame our own testimonies in the words of this song. In thee, O LORD, do I put my trust: let me never be put to confusion. Most of the things we forget are quite temporal anyway, but when we trust the Lord, He puts things in proper perspective the perspective of eternity.
Retirement can be a wonderful time to reflect on the Word and spend the time with the Lord that we always dreamed of spending during the earlier seasons of life. When loneliness creeps in and we are tempted to consider self-pity, we can remember thou art my hope, O Lord GOD: thou art my trust from my youth.
How young we must seem to the Ancient of Days! Our children and grand children don't understand - cant understand and we think I am as a wonder unto many; but there is One that understands, Who will hear our prayer. Thou art my strong refuge. Let my mouth be filled with thy praise and with thy honor all the day.
Cast me not off in the time of old age; forsake me not when my strength faileth. The winter of life takes us away from the springtime of our dreams, the summer days of labor, and even the autumn of reaping, but if we know the Lord we still have a ministry. In fact, it may be the time of our greatest ministry. Who among us did not depend on the prayers of our godly elders during the turmoil of our youth?
When we outgrow the need to be up-to-date on every passing fad, we can hold firmly to the truths that have sustained us and encourage those who follow after us. With what is likely the greatest credibility we will have in this life can speak for the Lord. Yet our testimony need not be some tired reminiscence, it can be a dynamic influence for a new day; our faith can still grow.
I will hope continually, and will yet praise thee more and more. When our strength fails we can say, I will go in the strength of the Lord GOD. We can claim the psalmists words as our own for the noble task of passing the baton of belief to a new generation. Now also when I am old and grayheaded, O God, forsake me not; until I have shewed thy strength unto this generation, and thy power to every one that is to come.
Yes, Lord, our winter song is sung in a voice that lacks the vigor that it once knew. These hands that hold the smooth hands of our grandchildren are wrinkled with the wear of the years. We hold the Word of God in fingers no longer nimble and claim this truth as our own, Thou, which hast shewed me great and sore troubles, shalt quicken me again, and shalt bring me up again from the depths of the earth.
What is it that brings the smile of peace across a wrinkled brow? Good memories, yes, but more than that. It is the seasoned sweetness of a life lived in fellowship with the Savior the assurance that after the winter song is sung, there is the resurrection in the Spring.
*Today’s Christian Sr. is produced by Marketing Partners Inc. netmpi.com
© 2000. No part of this page within No Tears In Heaven may be reproduced or reused in any way, electronic or print, without the expressed permission of the webmaster of No Tears In Heaven, or its respective author.