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Measuring My Days

April 2007
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“I PRAY THAT WHEN MY TIME COMES I MAY NOT GRUMBLE THAT MY BODY HAS WORN OUT TOO SOON, BUT HOLD ON TO Gratitude THAT I HAVE BEEN SO LONG AT THE HELM OF THE MOST WONDERFUL CREATION THE WORLD HAS EVER KNOWN, AND LOOK FORWARD TO MEETING MY DESIGNER FACE TO FACE.” 

Dr. Paul Brand in a sermon, The Wisdom of the Body

 

          April 2007 –A landmark month for me!  Alas, I reach what King David the Psalmist poetically called our “three score years and ten.”  Gratitude that he added: ”perhaps eighty!”  How quickly these years have added up and whisked by!  How much living I have crammed into my seventy!

            Strumming through my reveries and my conscience these past days have been the lyrics to one of my favorite songs.  Sometime ago I adopted these words as a kind of mantra for living; the title of the song is Submission :

 

The path that I have trod has brought me nearer God, Though oft it led thru sorrow’s gates. Though not the way I’d choose, in my way I might lose the joy that yet for me awaits. Not what I wish to be, nor where I wish to go, For who am I that I should choose my way? The Lord shall choose for me,  ‘ tis better far I know. So let Him bid me go, or stay.

                Indeed He has bid me go a lot of places.  And He has filled my days with adventures far beyond my boyhood dreams.  The whole globe – 86 countries at last count - has been my apple.  But these days He bids me stay.  I am content to keep my luggage tucked away in the closet and travel vicariously.  I journey via books to many of the places around the planet where my several careers had taken me and also to galaxies in space and realms beyond!  I’m finding reward and adventure in discovering the Bible anew via the Robert Murray M’Cheyne plan of daily reading chapters from both Old and New Testaments.  I’m picking the brains and the experiences of those I meet with the goal of learning something new from anyone and everyone I encounter.  I’m observing nature in the Creation around my chalet and am being treated to magic, operas and concerts gratis, letting my imagination soar. I’m not letting my dyslexia, color-blindness, and other impediments keep me from acting as though I don’t have “the world in a jug and the stopper in my hand” as my brother Walter used to say!  I know my limits, though, and I ask the good Lord to give me wisdom enough to know where to draw the line on my ambitions and my commitments.  Henceforth, I want it to be said that I was willing to try to do what I can with whatever I have, to have given more, to have lived more, to have cared more, to have loved more.  On this other side of seventy, life for me surely must be more precious and valued than ever.

            So what testament would I offer on my 70th anniversary?  I defer to E. Stanley Jones, a lifetime mentor, who at 89 summed up his faith in a little book he entitled The Divine Yes: 

“The only complete way of revelation” he said, “ is through a life – a character which would show us what God’s character is like.  That character is Christ – the human life of God, that part of God we have been able to see….The revelation is seen in the face of Jesus Christ….If God is like Jesus, He is a good God and trustable.…I turn to Jesus when I imagine the kind of God I would like to see in the universe.  I couldn’t imagine anything finer or more wonderful than what I see in the face of Jesus Christ.  So at long last we see the universe simplified to one word:  Jesus!  When we do, the universe claps its hands and says, ‘Of all the revelations, that is the most revealing.  Of all the statements, that is the statement that states the most.  Of all the conclusions, that is the most conclusive conclusion.’  God, in character, is like Jesus…If that is true, then all other truths fade into insignificance.”