#81 "Another Year Older, Another Year..."
January 30, 2007
"Show me, O Lord, my life's end and the number of my days; let me know how fleeting is my life. You have made my days a mere handbreadth; the span of my years is as nothing before you. Each man's life is but a breath." (Psalm 39: 4-5)
I found myself wishing Linda, my best friend growing up, a Happy 50th Birthday last week. And that means that in three weeks she will be wishing me the same thing. Fifty? 50? 5-0? No matter how I write it, it doesn't look good to me. And it wasn't feeling very good either. I decided to just put it out of my mind and ignore it.
But on Saturday morning, God decided that we needed to have a little chat about my turning 50 and what that's all about. Oh, how I wish I could see my life's end and the number of my days, as the Psalmist asked to see. Just how much time is left? I know they are a mere handbreadth. A vapor in the wind. A breath. I know that because I can see how fast the first fifty have gone by. And because my Bible says so.
My Heavenly Father revealed to me that I have two choices. I can be depressed and live in the regrets of the past... I spent a little while in the regrets. All the years that I didn't want Christ in my life. The years after I had asked Him to be my Lord and Savior, but continued to live on the fence, not wholly committed and very immature. The rebellious years. The stubborn years. The prideful years. There are situations in my life today that are a direct result of bad choices I made in the past. The result of bad choices that others inflicted upon me. Regrets and if-onlies. I quickly realized that this was not a fun place to be. So I repented, and wiped my tears and went to my Bible for the truth that will lead me to the second choice that I have...
Aren't you glad that we serve a God who is a restorer? And a repayer? As far as the years that I consider wasted...God says, "I will repay you for the years the locusts have eaten--the great locust and the young locust, the other locusts and the locust swarm.." (Joel 2:25) That's everything...big and small...my bad choices and someone else's abuse. All of it...God will restore and repay me those years. The years those "locusts" of life stole from me. I have already seen the restoration of some of them. God will restore the rest. I choose to believe that today.
I also choose to believe that I still have a whole lot of living to do. My children are older, one of them is married and one is out on her own. I have more time. I have more flexibility and more freedom. God has work for me to do here and each milestone shows that He chose to have me remain to give Him a helping hand. It's up to me to make that time count for Him. He has begun using me in brand new ways and He who began a good work in me will carry it on to completion. (Philippians 1: 6) I choose to believe that today.
Henry W. Longfellow writes, "Shall we sit idly down and say,
I'm going to bear fruit in these upcoming years. I will never be too old to serve God. Even if the "keepers of my house tremble" (my arms and hands grow weak) and the "strong men stoop" (bent and feeble legs). Even when my "grinders" (teeth) cease because they are few and "those looking through the windows grow dim" (my eyes). [See Ecclesiastes 12] Verse 12:1 tells me to "remember my Creator" before these things take place. So I'm going to remember Him now....continue to serve Him now and for as long as He decides to use me.
I'm going to grow in the wisdom of God's word. I'm going to learn from my mistakes. All of the advances of modern medicine can't slow my aging but nothing can stop me from growing spiritually. I am going to treasure the events of my past..good and bad. The good in great thankfulness to God. And the bad .. well.. I will seek to be shown how to use those bad things to minister to others. You know if you never go through anything, it is hard to relate to someone else in trials. I want to be able to put an arm around someone and say, "I know what you're going through". (2 Corinthians 1:3-4 says, "Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.")
I want to love like Jesus loves. No matter who it is..no matter what they've done to me...or how they treat me. I want to be like Jesus. Everyday, I want to follow Him. I want to see two of my four children that haven't done so, come to the Lord. I want to tell my grandbabies about Jesus. I want to grow old with my husband and be that cute couple still holding hands in their 70's or 80's or 90's. I have asked God to keep me around for these things...to see them, "before I depart and am no more" (Psalm 39: 13b). I'm not afraid of death...I long to look into the eyes of my Jesus and see the one who has walked with me every step of the way. The one who has loved me like no one ever did. The one who has cared for me perfectly. But I long to stay here for awhile and serve Him and bring others to Him. That's what keeps me going!
Monica, the mother of St. Augustine, prayed for her son's conversion for years. We all know what a great man of God he became. Ruth Graham tells the story of how, one day, shortly after Augustine's conversion, Monica announced to him that she had nothing left to live for, now that she had achieved her lifelong quest of seeing him come to faith in Christ. Just nine days later, she died. I pray to see the results of my lifelong quests.
An old man was asked if he were not rejoicing to think that his time was near when he would be called Home. The old man answered bluntly that he had no wish about it. When pressed for something more definite, he added, ?I have nothing to do with death. My business is to live as long as I can, and as well as I can, and serve my Savior as faithfully as I can, until He thinks it?s time to call me Home."
That's what I'm talking about! That's my 50th birthday wish and prayer.
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