Here I am pondering life again, though now at a new plane as I approach the forty year mark of January 3, since my decision to follow Christ and to live fully into my calling. It has been a remarkable journey for a boy born of meager means, almost first generation in every arena except hard work!
Of course, what I have learned is that there are no trip switches that suddenly take you to a heavenly place where brokenness cannot touch you. No, I live with the same failures as any human, but something deep inside always seems to call me back to the task. As many have attested too, failing is simply a means to take one upward; one writer in so many words declares that your failures determine your successes, rather than preventing them! The secret is getting back up.
There are many other secrets as well; I will mention two: big picture thinking and standing alone. Life and its institutions, if one is not careful, can take you into the weeds, stalling you in the status quo. We are not creatures readily accepting of change and at times even find it personally painful, as well as collectively; the pain reinforced by those who know how to leverage our greatest institutions: the religious and the political, possibly the two most wielding.
The beauty of age is perhaps the spiritual wisdom available to aid in one’s escape; allowing a significant data base to be employed in reflection, both upon our history and those dreams still unfolding. “One litmus test of spiritual maturity is whether your dreams are getting bigger or smaller. The older you get, the more faith you should have because you’ve experienced more of God’s faithfulness. And it is God’s faithfulness that increases our faith and enlarges our dreams.”1
“Our date of death is not the date etched on our tombstone. The day we stop dreaming is the day we start dying. When imagination is sacrificed on the altar of logic, God is robbed of the glory that rightfully belongs to Him.”2 I’ll credit a former pastor, Dr. Ron McManus with the statement that “Our dreams should always be bigger than our past accomplishments.”
I find myself in an interesting time of life, one which I often refer to in conversation as the Red Zone, my last few yards and most probable time of scoring a deciding blow against the enemy of mankind. Pogo (1972) would say the enemy is us; secularists would generalize it as evil, and Christians, quick to blame Satan? I think it to be a combination of all three, though nonetheless harmless.
What would the Christ do if He were on the Earth? What do I do considering that I believe He lives in me? I must become the change that I desire, living into the principles which Christ taught. I must resist the pressure of religion and the rigors of the political, even if it means standing alone, apart from either party or congregation.
The prophet Micah advised: “He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. (Micah 6:8 NIV, 1984).
Simply said, do what is right!
That takes courage, resilience and consistency when wrong is witnessed or evil strikes; and certainly given the Newtown disaster, we are there! The difficulty again, is that often that means walking alone, rather than awaiting a movement or some reformation within the institutions we have come to rely upon.
Yesterday, as I received a warm hug of encouragement from a person, who of late, also lost a run for public office. Though we come from two different points of view, the warmth of encouragement was greatly appreciated. I was reminded of the need to stay in the fray, though possibly depending less on the viewpoint of the majority needed for elected office. If culture is as far off base, as to manifest the dilemmas we now face as a nation, perhaps a few standing alone, could make a difference. Mother Teresa, Nelson Mandela and others might agree?
Maybe my calling to public office was more of a means to observe the real challenges before us, than an end in its self? Challenges, that won’t be resolved by new politicians, new policies or even a weekend revivals, but rather singular voices of love crying in a wilderness of need. Will you be the change that we need?
God show me the next step and keep me in love with You and those whom you have created.
1 Batterson, Mark (2011-12-13). Circle Maker (Enhanced Edition) (Kindle Locations 576-578). Zondervan. Kindle Edition.
2 Batterson, Mark (2011-12-13). Circle Maker (Enhanced Edition) (Kindle Locations 587-589). Zondervan. Kindle Edition.