Every year I mark my birthday with some reflections on the life that the Lord has given me. Today I am 68, and that’s kind of hard to imagine. In my mind, I’m much younger. But I feel closer to that 68 number at the moment because I had some surgery last Friday from which I’m still recuperating. There’s nothing like post-op pain to remind one that life on this earth is temporary.
As I reflect back on those 68 years today, the temptation is always to feel deep regret over the failures I brought on myself at times. Yet I believe God wants me to focus instead on how He led me out of those failures through repentance and his all-encompassing mercy and forgiveness. The enemy of our souls would like to continue to weigh us down with regrets and make us ineffective for God’s Kingdom. We cannot allow that to happen. If the repentance is genuine and God has forgiven us, we need to walk in that new life.
A key Scripture for me at a crucial point in my life can be found in Ecclesiastes 12 where it talks about how books and much study can be wearying to the body. You see, I was trying to find purpose through higher education at that time. That passage spoke directly to me. It ended with these words:
I’ve tried to make that the centerpiece of my life ever since. The Lord opened up a ministry of teaching that is now in its 30th year. My goal, as I teach students (and others) is to help them see all of life through the prism of God’s truth.
I’ve never felt so fulfilled as a teacher as I have in the past few years. God’s grace continues to provide what I need to communicate what He has given me. I might even be increasing in wisdom and discretion as I get older, but I don’t want to claim too much there—it can boomerang on me the next time I do something foolish.
So my goal is to keep listening to the Lord through His Word, prayer, and worship. He is faithful. I want to respond to His faithfulness with a faithfulness of my own out of sheer gratitude for what He has done in my life—especially when I didn’t deserve His mercy.