To What Once Was
“Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.”
― Søren Kierkegaard
Twenty eight years really does not seem that long. It feels a lot shorter than what it has actually been. While my physical birth may have been in nineteen eighty six, my spiritual birth would not come until two thousand five. Before my point of salvation the Lord preserved and protected me, mind and body, from myself, even other people. Sometimes I wonder how on earth I made it through all of those things. As much light as in my life now, I have seen my fair share of darkness…these eyes have definitely seen conflict. So many things have happened that could have stopped me, yet they did not; every abuse, my suicide attempt, the innumerable physical, not to mention mental, abuses, the loves that actually were not love at all, the losses where, both little and much were lost, homelessness, and even total isolation with no one but myself. Through all of it, every hurt, every pain, every birthday, every year, the Lord brought me through to where I am now. As an unbeliever a birthday means nothing more than another year closer to eternal judgment, while for the believer another year brings them closer to glory. So many things could have stopped me, so many stupid mistakes, bad days, poor choices, but here I am with all of it behind me. I did not merely live, I lived to tell the tale.
To What Presently Is
“We’re so busy watching out for what’s just ahead of us that we don’t take time to enjoy where we are.”
― Bill Watterson
I never imagined I would be living in the middle of Iowa, going to Bible College, pursuing a life of ministry, and experiencing God in so many awesome ways, in my own life, as well as, through the lives of others. For all the love that was absent in my life then, that much more love is present in my life today. The greatest gift He has ever given me was that of salvation, and through that He has provided so many amazing experiences, not to mention allowed me a plethora of incredible people. As things go life is good. I am surrounded by friends who love me, who are my family (a few of them just sieged my room to sing Happy Birthday), the opportunities I have been given are unending, God has given me a sharp mind, I have my health, as looks go I am not particularly awful looking and my definition, as well as, security, is in Christ. What more could a person ask for? There are so many people in this world who do not have any of those things, so who am I to complain? Sure it has its difficulties, while I may not be where I think I should be, I know I am where God wants me to be. It is hard to be twenty eight, single, and still an undergrad, but hey, Jesus himself was single and did not start His ministry until He was thirty, so maybe I am okay too. Thomas Freeman, a friend of mine, once said something that is still in the top ten of my favorite quotes, he said “God is more concerned with faithful service than He is visible results. I have spent so many past birthdays regretting where I am, coveting where I was not, and because of this my flesh made me miserable. I allowed others visible results to take away from my faithful service. I spent all of that time in self-pity over the things I did not have, that I missed the things I do. Visible results, or lack of, should not determine our level of faithful service. I am a blessed man, with a blessed life in Christ. I may not have much, but what I do have, I’ve got a lot of. What else do I need?
To What is To Come
“25 “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? 27 And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? 28 And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, 29 yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30 But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? 31 Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” 34 “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.”
-Jesus Christ, Mathew 5:25-34
I have no idea what will happen in the next year, next day, or next hour even, but what I have to remember is I am still on this journey called life. Where I am at is just another path on this adventure and most certainly not the destination. As much as my flesh tries to convince me this is it, the truth is I am not home, nor is this the end. This could be my last birthday, or it could be one of so many more to come, I have no idea. All I am responsible for in regards to what is to come, is to follow Him. Every long term goal I have ever made so far has failed and I am okay with that. Why? Because His plan is BETTER! All I can do is take the time God has given me now and continue to develop in my relationships, my abilities, and my fellowship with Him. Do I believe God has a plan for my life? Absolutely! So instead of wasting time making my own plans, I should be investing time into faithfully serving in the plans that are His. When I think about all the details that have lead me to where I am at today, had I known them years prior, I would have given up, because all of those details would have been so overwhelming. What is my goal for the future? To know Him and make Him known. Beyond that anything could happen, I might be a teacher, or a writer, I could even fine myself pioneering a ministry, possibly even doing mission work overseas. Right now I do not know what is coming, but He does, and while all I may know is there here and now, He knows and controls what will someday be. I will let Him deal with that. The worst thing any of us could do is limit God with our plans, when the possibilities are unlimited with His.
Now We Are Twenty Eight
“When I was One,
I had just begun.
When I was Two,
I was nearly new.
When I was Three
I was hardly me.
When I was Four,
I was not much more.
When I was Five, I was just alive.
But now I am Six, I’m as clever as clever,
So I think I’ll be six now for ever and ever.”
―A.A. Milne, Now We are Six
This is the first birthday where I have intentionally accepted and enjoyed it. The Lord is good to me, and regardless of what happens(that could even include kissing someone who thinks I am wonderful like the Neil Gaiman quote above suggests), I just have to enjoy Him and all the blessings He has bestowed upon me. The blessings are there, I just have to be willing to see them.