There's a song that has gripped my heart for some time now. When we sing it in church-it's all I can do to get through it. And it seemed only fitting to use it to reflect on a life filled with change, some good and some bad, but how through it all I can see God's hand....directing & blessing. And knowing In Christ Alone....I stand.
In Christ alone my hope is found; He is my light, my strength, my song
And to know, today, despite upheaval and uncertainty over the last few years........as I shared with a good friend this morning.......to know that I am in the very best place of my life.
This cornerstone, this solid ground, Firm through the fiercest drought and storm.
The best health, best in my career path, best in my relationships with family and friends....and while He and I sometimes don't see eye to eye.......am in my closest walk with my great big Dad upstairs.
What heights of love, what depths of peace,When fears are stilled, when strivings cease! My comforter, my all in all—Here in the love of Christ I stand.
To what do I owe this amazing life....these first 40 years? It's complicated. I owe a whole lot to my family, my mom and dad and grandparents. I am who I am, because of them. I owe a heck of a lot to some very good friends.....I began to count all the friends in my life who have made an impact on me, who I feel very close to and had over thirty names before I gave up and thought-wow-God-how I am blessed. And of course I owe my beautiful wife and kids probably the most, second to God. Thank you, everyone.
In Christ alone, Who took on flesh, Fullness of God in helpless babe! This gift of love and righteousness, Scorned by the ones He came to save.
I remember the insecure little kid, who at about 8 yrs. old bought fire insurance to stay out of hell. I remember the guy I was back in highschool. I was a jerk......given who I am now, I don't think I would have hung out with myself. And the mess of a kid I was in college, struggling with thousands of thoughts that contradicted themselves from faith to politics.......that made me begin to realize life wasn't black and white like I had been taught. Life was a gift.......and I began to realize, mostly because of a good friend's death........my life wasn't mine to live.
Till on that cross as Jesus died, The wrath of God was satisfied; For ev'ry sin on Him was laid—Here in the death of Christ I live.
And when I finally got on with my life and started down a career path, I tried so hard to understand God's love and my role in this world. And He led me to my wife......who gave me my kids..........and even in our loss, or maybe because of the loss........I figured out what love was.
There in the ground His body lay, Light of the world by darkness slain; Then bursting forth in glorious day, Up from the grave He rose again! And as He stands in victory, Sin's curse has lost its grip on me; For I am His and He is mine—Bought with the precious blood of Christ.
And I remember two years ago now, how I thought I knew the role I was to have in this world....changed so abruptly.......and I became angry with God for the first time. And He has now shown me.......son, I have the best.........the best........planned for you. Trust me.
No guilt in life, no fear in death—This is the pow'r of Christ in me; From life's first cry to final breath, Jesus commands my destiny. No pow'r of hell, no scheme of man, Can ever pluck me from His hand; Till He returns or calls me home—Here in the pow'r of Christ I'll stand.
Then it came time to trust Him......more fully than I ever had to before. And here I am today, standing, blessed beyond what I could have expected.....by His providence. Standing as a true testament of God's faithfulness & love. And understanding more fully, my life isn't my own. Give it away........and you will know the best God has for you.
"In Christ Alone"
So........this 40th birthday. I'm ok with it. And I think, maybe, the first 40 years was a time of preparation. Preparation for the big fight..........or maybe like wandering in the desert for 40 years........or maybe like being taken away captive from your dreams or passions, your homeland for 40 years. Now come the real blessings.......the real purpose God has called me to.......
.....how awesome is that?