Tuesday, December 2, 2014
“The afternoon knows what the morning never suspected.” ― Robert Frost
Never in my life, even just ten years ago, did I believe that I would live to be seventy years old. My body is missing several original parts—some that I was really sorry to see go. It has had a mechanical part (actually the third replacement) that God never put there with a Medtronics logo on it (not a pacemaker, an implanted defibrillator) since 1996. Certainly didn’t plan for that. My good friend Pete O’Neal has a knee that was made in a factory. I have more scars than I have children and grandchildren. The things I can no longer do far outnumber those that I can do. Pain used to be the occasional result of an accident but is now a constant companion that cannot be treated with medication. This is isn’t just me, this is almost everyone who has reached their “three score and ten” the Bible promised. But there are many who are in much worse shape than I who are less than a third or even a fifth my age. The issue for me, and for everyone I expect, it that no matter what our physical limitations, there are things we can do for ourselves and for others. Robert Louis Stevenson wrote his famous works from his bed where he was confined by sickness. Stephen Hawking is one of the most remarkable thinkers of our time and imprisoned in a body tied to machines and tubes. We can moan and complain of all that we can no longer do. We can moan and complain of our constant and incurable aches and pains. We can pretend that these infirmities and physical limitations prevent us from doing and being the servants of God that we have been called to be, but I think we know, deep inside, that we are just pretending. Sarah laughed when God told her she would bear a child at the age of 99, but bear a child she did. Moses was 80 years old when he led the Hebrews out of Egypt (maybe if he had been younger, he would have asked for directions and it wouldn’t have taken him forty years, but that’s another story). The fact is that God calls us to do what we can with what we have where we are. He doesn’t seem to mind that we have infirmities and physical limitations. Helen Keller comes to mind, among others. It is in each day, within its limitations, that we are to be available and obedient to God. If we are, He will use us to sow seeds, to drop pebbles in a pond, to touch others in ways we never expected or planned, yet when we let God do the guiding, we always get farther than we ever thought we would. I have done much in my seventy years, but it is just possible that the greatest thing God wants from me is yet to come. There is a line I really like in “Macbeth” that Scottish play by William Shakespeare (John and I just watched “Hamlet” last night and that Shakespeare fellow shows great promise). Anyway, the line I am talking about is from Malcolm speaking of an enemy of Macbeth who repented, turned and fought for Macbeth losing his life in the process. Of this, Malcolm says, “Nothing in his life became him like the leaving of it.” Perhaps something similar awaits me. Perhaps my true discipleship to Christ will come at the point of my death or near it. I know not. What I do know is that to moan and complain does not endear people to you and tends to drive those who love you away—in other words there is nothing to be gained and much to be lost. Take what life gives you and look for the opportunities to serve within its circumstances. All God asks is obedience and availability every day. In spite of my age, missing parts, and aches and pains, I can offer these to my Lord and Savior. So can you.