Most recently it has been brought to my attention, on more than one occasion, that I am not a young man anymore. WHAT!!?? Who said? When did that happen? It is only now that I have awakened during my fifty-fourth year and realized that time has indeed marched on and taken me along for the ride whether I wanted to go or not. It would seem that the old cliché, “Time waits on no one.” exhibits a disturbing amount of truth.
Alas, I suppose it must be true. Multiple knee surgeries have resulted in a total right knee replacement making it painfully obvious that, perhaps, I can’t do some of the things that I used to do. I refuse to accept this. In my own defense I may admit that there are somethings that I cannot do as quickly as I once did or that I may not do some things for the duration that I once did. There is no shame in that. I merely suffer the inadequacies of modern technology that are yet to catch up to the youth of my heart. Imagine, they give me a metallic knee joint and no port with which to oil the thing.
Additionally, I have a metal plate and four screws holding my neck and head in proper alignment and position. I acquired this trophy when the vertebral disc between C6 and C7 collapsed. Thus I have a neck that doesn’t bend very well and a head that doesn’t turn very effectively because C6 and C7 are permanently fused together in holy wedlock. Hey, It’s the cost of growing older. Or is it?
At this time, I feel it necessary to propose that my daddy’s wisdom may be coming into play on this issue. I used to laugh when dad would flex his hands, hard as steel from decades of work on the farm, and announce that it was going to rain (or insert any other sudden change in the weather) sometime in the next few days.
“Dad, you can’t tell me that it’s going to rain (or whatever the change in weather might be) just because your hands hurt.”
My dad, being the loving father he always was, would merely smile and say, “You just keep living son. You just keep right on living.”
I would be remiss if I did not admit now, years later, that dad was never wrong in his forecasts. Being young and ignorant, I chalked it up to coincidence. But just as dad requested, I kept on living. However, I’m not laughing anymore about changes in weather. Now days, I know exactly what dad was talking about.
Well, dad has departed this earth. He earned his rest. He was a believer to say the least and God knows how hard he worked to provide for his family while he walked on this earth. But those tidbits of wisdom he tried to teach me then still live on today in my memories. What shames me now is that I realize that dad’s wisdom was acquired through a life of real hardship and confirmed in biblical principles. I always wondered how or where dad acquired all his knowledge, wisdom, and understanding when he did not even finish middle school. Come to find out, dad acquired his wisdom from a higher school of learning and he learned the hard way.
He tried to impart his wisdom to the son he loved the best way he knew how and for the most part I ignored it.
Now I’ve said all that so that I can say this. After 54 years of walking this earth, obtaining a seminary degree, and re-learning much of the wisdom that my earthly father tried to impart to me, I am on a mission.
My mission is to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ to convey hope in a world where hopelessness abounds. I believe that far too many have lost hope and I believe that this hopelessness is the result of the enemy’s indirect assault on the biblical institutions of marriage and family. There I said it. Now it’s confession time.
I’ve been divorced. I’ve been an adulterer and fornicator. I’ve been a drug user and a drunk. Daughter pregnant out of wedlock? Got that one in my resume. I’ve suffered the death of a daughter via suicide no less. I’ve lost a grand-child before it could see the light of day. I once ruled my house through fear. I squandered away a fortune and was once one of the worst stewards of money and time. I COULD go on and on infinitum but you get the idea. If there is a way be a detriment to one’s self or family, I’ve probably done that. I’ve been heard to say that God looks out after fools and renegades. I should know because I have been both.
I have to laugh as I write this because I know that some of you are probably thinking the same thing that I would have thought some time ago if I’d just read what you have. Some of you are thinking, “Well, if you’ve done all that and experienced all those things then why should I listen to you?” It is a valid question.
The reason that you want to listen to me is because I experienced, or I should say suffered, ALL those things and more. Thankfully and joyfully God’s grace allowed me to overcome my mistakes and bad decisions to not just merely survive but to THRIVE. You see, I’ve made A LOT of mistakes. I’ve made a lot of HUGE mistakes that not only caused me to suffer but caused my family to suffer as well. I cannot tolerate that. For all my faults I can honestly say that I love my family.
So what did I do? What do I do now? I seek God first in all things. I seek His kingdom and His righteousness. I seek His knowledge, wisdom, and understanding. I stand prepared each day. I guard my heart with diligence each day for what is in my heart determines either the life that my family and I enjoy or the life that we endure. My family and I have endured enough. I’m all about enjoying the time that I have left on this earth with my family. I have discovered the way to enjoying life.
I WISH that I’d had someone like me to listen to thirty years ago. Come to think of it, looking back, I believe that dad tried to direct me the best way he knew how. But in my infinite ignorance I didn’t listen. If I did listen I did not apply what was taught. I do wish that I had listened more closely.
I am now aging and believe that it is safe to say that I have walked out half my life on this earth. If I can walk the second half of my life helping others to avoid making the same mistakes that I have made or how to overcome those mistakes to live their lives full of hope and joy, then I have accomplished that which I was made to do. Can I do that? No, sadly I cannot. But in allegiance with the Holy Spirit I CAN do that. I will do that.
Walk with me a while. I’ll try not to slow you down. God Bless.