Enjoying the Journey
My elders were right when they said the years go faster as you get older. I am sitting here this morning reflecting on another year of God’s goodness in my life. The Lord has been so gracious to me. My heart is full as I think about the wonderful heritage I have been handed through godly parents. I am even grateful for my sister. (That is when you know you are officially old!)
Thirty-one years ago the Lord Jesus saved me as a five year old boy. What an adventure I have been on ever since! I am overwhelmed as I think of how God called me to be a preacher and began to prepare me for that work. I will forever be grateful for the influences He brought me under.
I plan to spend this birthday with my best friend and wife. She has been my Father’s perfect gift to me. We are watching our three children grow up so quickly now – every year another reminder of God’s goodness.
Moses wrote in the oldest psalm in the Bible, “we spend our years as a tale that is told” (Ps. 90:9). The tale has been wonderful so far. As I have meditated on Moses prayer I have come to a few conclusions.
1. Everyone has a story to tell.
No two stories are the same. Mine began on August 25, 1976 in Beckley, West Virginia. At least my understanding of it did. In fact, the eternal God started writing my story in a book in eternity past (Ps. 139:16). Every man’s story has a beginning. Every man’s story has chapters. Every man’s story has an end. Everyone has a story…but you only get one.
2. Everyone’s story is a short story.
No matter how long we live, in the scheme of eternity, life is very short. Psalm 90 describes vividly the fleeting nature of life and concludes that “it is soon cut off, and we fly away” (v. 10).
I would like for my story to be a 6 volume, hard-back set. But in reality it will only be a few pages in eternities library. More and more I understand the counsel of my Pastor, “The decisions you make are more important than the days you live.”
3. Every story has a villain.
We all know that we fight the world and the devil. Yet the greatest enemy is the one I carry around with me everywhere I go. Me. The self life. What Moses called my own iniquities, my secret sins (v. 8). Psalm 90 was written as the children of Israel camped at Kadesh-barnea. They were on the verge of victory and ended up wandering in defeat for 40 years. I wonder what the next 40 years might hold? It will depend on whether I allow self to live a life of unbelief and disobedience or I choose to keep following the Lord.
4. Every story needs a Divine Author.
Psalm 90 begins and ends with the LORD (v. 1-2, 16-17). The everlasting God was here before my story ever began. He will be here when my earthly story has finished. Only He can bring true meaning to the story.
The only blots on my story I put there, and the only blessings in it He did. It is wonderful that the Author and finisher of our faith can erase the blots, turn the page, and rewrite the ending. Only He can do that.
The real struggle in life is: who will hold the pen? We like to write our own story, but it never turns out quite right. Put the pen in the nail-pierced hand of Jesus and suddenly the story of our life begin to flow with one beautiful theme.
5. Everyone’s story turns out better when the Lord takes over in the first chapters.
I am happy that people can be saved late in life. I have known many who finally got serious about the Lord as they neared the end of the journey. But there is something truly wonderful about living a life as William Borden famously said of, “No reserve. No retreat. No regrets.” This does not happen by accident.
In verse 14 of Psalm 90 Moses prays, “O satisfy us early with thy mercy; that we may rejoice and be glad all our days.” If we want “all our days” to be happy ones, then we should enter in to the mercy of God “early.” If you want the Lord in on the landing, get Him in on the take-off.
Someday the Author of life will take the pen and write two final words on my story: THE END.
When He does, the only thing that will matter is who held the pen and wrote the story of my life. Few of us will ever have a biography written about us. But I can assure you that there are books being kept in heaven, a true record of our life’s story, and we will hear it read on the day we stand before Jesus.
I do not know how many years I have left. The same psalm that says “we spend our years as a tale that is told” goes on to record, “so teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom” (v. 12). Years are made up of days. The years are in God’s hand. My responsibility is to make every day count.
Recently I sat down and figured up the number of days I had lived. It is scary! The average life is just over 25,500 days. The problem is that though you may figure up how many days you have spent, you have no way of knowing how many you have left. Only an all-knowing God has that number.