“He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also He has put eternity in their hearts, except that no one can find out the work that God does from beginning to end.”
“being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ;”
“Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”
Mind-bending. Thirty-seven now applies to me in a personal way. Next time I go to the Y I’ll have to type 37, not 36, when the treadmill asks my age. When I was little, people in their late thirties (late thirties!) seemed old and knowledgeable. Hmm. Did the adults I knew then feel the same way I do now? Grown up, responsible, but on the inside there’s a twenty-something person who never seems to grow older, and who, if given to too much introspection, can be a little overwhelmed at the thought that my generation are the now responsible adults – that people my age and younger are running important businesses and making important decisions that affect the whole country or are operating on my child in a few weeks? Thinking about the fast passage of time and how the older we get, the faster time seems to go reminds me that our days here are but a vapor compared with eternity.
Today I look at my 37 years and my testimony is that God is so good. He is so faithful – even when I am not. I hope I never get over the gratitude and awe I have that He would save even me. In fact, I hope that gratitude and awe will increase as I grow in His grace. I am so thankful that He saved me young and that He has spared me so much and given me so much. I am thankful to have grown up in a home where my parents prayed for my salvation and taught me God’s Word, from the time I was a tiny baby. What a blessing. What a privilege. What a responsibility – to whom much is given, much is required. When I think of God’s grace and mercy toward me, I am almost undone at times. May I be found faithful. May I never outlive my gratitude and love for my Savior, Jesus the Lord.
When I look back over the 37 years God has allowed me to have on this earth, I would be less than honest if I did not say that there are things I regret, too, when I have to admit my passion for Christ has not been nearly as burning as I desire it to be. I have wasted time along the way. May I use that realization to lay aside every weight and seek His Kingdom and righteousness first and follow Him wholeheartedly and run the race well to the end with however long the Lord chooses to grant me to live. Oh, how I pray my heart will burn within me and I will be able to say that I have one desire, to see and know and love and serve the Lord. May that color everything I do.
It is a humbling thing to realize how much self-centeredness there still is in me. It is a humbling, frightening thing to realize how easily I take my eyes off the prize and look around me at the waves and storms and trappings of this world and selfish desires of my heart. Even my very best offerings are so often tinged with hints of pharisaical self-righteousness. Even when I want to do right, in honesty I cringe and have to admit that my motives are not always free of pride. It is humbling to realize afresh that all my righteous deeds are but filthy rags if not surrendered to the Lordship of Jesus Christ. When memorizing Psalm 103 earlier this year, verses 11-14 became especially precious to me.
Psalm 103: 11-14
“For as the heavens are high above the earth,
So great is His mercy toward those who fear Him;
As far as the east is from the west,
So far has He removed our transgressions from us.
As a father pities his children,
So the LORD pities those who fear Him.
For He knows our frame;
He remembers that we are dust.”
It is so freeing and awesome to know that it is Christ in me where my hope lies. He is my righteousness. By His grace I can stand in the presence of God without shame because His blood has washed me whiter than snow, He took my shame to the cross and clothed me in His righteousness. Jesus is my Advocate before the Father, my great and glorious High Priest. In Him alone is my hope. May I faithfully work the works He has prepared beforehand for me to do, as His blood-bought, redeemed, freed from sin child. May I not waste the time I’m given to serve my King here on this side of eternity, until He comes or takes me home, whichever comes first. May I run the race as a marathon, faithful to the end. May I finish well. By His grace and for His glory alone.