Today I turn 69. I hope I’ve learned some things in those 69 years.
I hope I’ve learned about the character of God, that He is both righteous and merciful. His law is good and right and He has every reason to exclude all of us from His presence because of our rebellious, sinful hearts.
Yet He seeks to show mercy. He will be the Judge because righteousness must be upheld, but He longs to shower us with His grace. That’s what the Cross is all about.
I hope I’ve learned to understand Jesus better. He’s not the wimpy caricature that some put forth. He persevered through forty days in the wilderness being tempted by Satan. He sweat drops of blood in Gethsemane. He endured the agonies of that Cross—not only the physical pain but the spiritual hell of being separated from the Father.
And He did all that for me. And for you.
I hope I’ve learned how to be led by the Holy Spirit. Oh, I’ve had my times of foolishness living out this life in Christ. There were times I deceived myself into believing I was following the Spirit’s leading only to learn how wrong I was. But that’s another thing I hope I’ve learned: that we grow in knowledge, understanding, and wisdom as we humble ourselves and allow Him to guide and correct us.
I hope I’ve learned that I am to love others, even those who are unlovable. This has been hard. I hope I’ve learned to forgive those who have sinned against me. Whenever I have trouble with that, I need to remember the times I have sinned against others and realize that I am in no position to be their final judge. How I respond to adversity is really important. If I do it poorly, I become a terrible witness for the Truth. If I do it well, I help point others to the love of God.
I hope I’ve learned never to take His forgiveness, mercy, and grace lightly. It cost Him dearly to make me one of His children.
I could go on and on with the things I hope I’ve learned, but now, as I turn 69 and look ahead to the next decade—a decade that used to seem so far away—I hope I’ve learned that our time on this earth really is short. Eternity beckons. Am I ready? Do I really trust in Him as I should? When death comes near, will I welcome it and have the expectation that it’s merely a step into what this life was all about all along?
Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth,a for the first heaven and earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.
And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying:
“Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man, and He will dwell with them.
They will be His people, and God Himself will be with them as their God.
He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the former things have passed away.”
And the One seated on the throne said, â€œBehold, I make all things new.â€
Come, Lord Jesus, come.