I used to love birthdays. I can still remember standing excitedly on our front porch waiting for my friends to show up for my 5th birthday party. I wasn’t just excited about the balloons, the gifts, and the cake. I was happy that I was no longer only 4! I was growing up.

As I’ve gotten older, however, birthdays have sometimes been more discouraging than exciting. Last year when I celebrated a birthday that marked me by decades more than by years, my wife, Martie, cheered me up with the reminder that I should be grateful to be growing older. She pointed me to Psalm 71, where the psalmist talks about God’s presence throughout his life. He remembers that God “took me out of my mother’s womb” (71:6), and he proclaims with thankfulness, “O God, You have taught me from my youth; and to this day I declare Your wondrous works” (v.17). And now, when the psalmist is older, he has the honor to proclaim: “[God’s] strength to this generation, [His] power to everyone who is to come” (v.18). God had blessed the psalmist with His presence through every year of his life.

Birthdays now remind me of God’s faithfulness. And they bring me closer to being in the presence of the One who has been with me all these years!