62

willlordIt’s my birthday, a good day to reflect on my life. Today marks 62 years since my arrival in this world to two young, hopeful kids in a hospital in rural Iowa on a Thursday night. It’s been an interesting life. The last decade has brought the greatest sorrows and deepest growth!

I look at that number and I am astonished at how quickly it arrived. That’s probably a cliche but none-the-less, it is true for me. Seems like yesterday I was a little kid chasing sheep on a farm. Then, a blink and I was off to college to prepare for ministry.  God sent a lovely woman into my life, her beauty stopping me in my tracks and capturing my heart. Kids, work, and I was 35  and shepherding a church in Massachusetts.  Blink! And, the kids were gone, married, and we were neck deep in service to our congregation in NJ.

Then 2008 dawned and just a few days into that year, Dad found out he had terminal cancer and I walked that sad road with Mom and him until he stepped into eternity.  She died two years later. Life took a major, unforeseen twist for me with her death.  A new normal was just settling when we learned of Bev’s cancer and somehow I knew that day she would be going home, and she did in December, 2015.

I might have concluded that life was mostly over, that it was time to retreat but that was not what the Spirit whispered. So, with a lot of encouragement, I struggled to find a new future, one I had never desired. And, I am still growing in grace.  Always a driven man, pressing to make things happen, I have learned to wait, to listen; not perfectly, but better than I once did.  I have found a new sweetness in God’s truth, a precious hope in the Gospel – Christ has died, Christ has risen, Christ will come again.

As I prayed at the beginning of this birthday, I felt this wisdom of the Word pressed on me.  “Look here, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we are going to a certain town and will stay there a year. We will do business there and make a profit.” How do you know what your life will be like tomorrow? Your life is like the morning fog—it’s here a little while, then it’s gone. What you ought to say is, “If the Lord wants us to, we will live and do this or that.” (James 4:13-15, NLT)

In this my hope is renewed. Though many sorrows have found me and disappointments have clouded my vision for a time, I rest in the fact that –  My life is held in His hands; yes, even those things that I don’t understand, that make no sense, are within the realm of His will. “If the Lord wills … ”  

Christian friend, whether you are 4, 40, or 84 … center your life on Him. He is our hope. We do not resign to fate, we rest on faith. It is not a simplistic faith, but a complex joining of emotions, reason, and experience that we willingly submit to Christ, our King.

Here is a word from the Word, full of promise, from my favorite part of the Scripture. Lord, make it our hope, that Truth that secures us in this thing we know as ‘life.’

“And this is the plan: At the right time he will bring everything together under the authority of Christ—everything in heaven and on earth. Furthermore, because we are united with Christ, we have received an inheritance from God, for he chose us in advance, and he makes everything work out according to his plan.” (Ephesians 1:10-11, NLT)

“The Spirit is God’s guarantee that he will give us the inheritance he promised and that he has purchased us to be his own people. He did this so we would praise and glorify him.” (Ephesians 1:14, NLT)
____________

Good, Good Father (listen, learn, and worship at this link)

I’ve heard a thousand stories
Of what they think You’re like
But I’ve heard the tender whisper
Of love in the dead of night
You tell me that You’re pleased
And that I’m never alone

You’re a Good Good Father
It’s who You are
It’s who You are
It’s who You are
And I’m loved by You
It’s who I am
It’s who I am
It’s who I am

I’ve seen many searching for answers
Far and wide
But I know we’re all searching for answers
Only You provide
Because You know just what we need
Before we say a word
You are perfect in all of Your ways
You are perfect in all of Your ways
You are perfect in all of Your ways to us

Love so undeniable I can hardly speak
Peace so unexplainable I can hardly think
As You call me deeper still
As You call me deeper still
As You call me deeper still
Into love love love

You’re a Good Good Father
It’s who You are
It’s who You are
It’s who You are
And I’m loved by You
It’s who I am
It’s who I am
It’s who I am

Anthony Brown | Pat Barrett © 2014 Capitol CMG Paragon (Admin. by Capitol CMG Publishing) Common Hymnal Publishing (Admin. by Capitol CMG Publishing)

CCLI License # 810055

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