At 48 years old, I am certainly more aware of the beginning and the end of the mortal life than I once was.
Statistically, I have three decades or more remaining to live in this mortal body. Yet in reality my life in this body could come to an end at any moment.
To tell you the truth, I am not ready for it to end. My life has been a mess on so many fronts. Most of what I have endured has been due to my own choices.
I have been known to be stubborn and rebellious. For many, many years I was determined to do things my way. I couldn’t believe that some cosmic being could truly map out my life better than I could.
So I did what “I” wanted. Funny how He was just a passing thought in the midst of my rebellion but was suddenly at the forefront of my thoughts when I was facing the consequences of my choices.
Far less reckless have already met their fate. Even the cautious who took every measure to care for their bodies have seen them give way unto death.
Statistically, I should be the one who is already gone and yet I am here. I find myself caught up in a cycle of questions,
“Why am I still here?”
“How could God use someone like me?”
“Why didn’t I choose to obey a long time ago?”
The more I ponder such things the more I realize I lack understanding. I don’t deserve the life I have in this mortal body and I certainly don’t deserve the eternal life that has given to me through the sacrifice made on my behalf nearly 2,000 years ago.
I have found that the more I live for myself, the less satisfied I am and the more restless I become.
Lately it has me considering, “How much of my life is primarily about me?”
We posture outwardly in spaces such as this. We build ourselves up to be much more than we are. Still, just one look in the mirror and we are reminded of the house of cards, the lie that we portray whether we mean to or not.
If we only show our best side and deliberately hide our weaknesses, flaws and failures we may gain accolades but we will always lack real intimacy.
Are we seeking applause or relationship?
Jesus is alive in me, but sadly it seems I am more often alive in me than He is.
I am learning… but I have so much left to learn. One thing I know is that I want the real and the authentic yet it is difficult to expose myself before others, to pronounce, “This is what I have done and this is what has been done to me, but it is not who I am.”
I have concluded that God agrees, He knows my heart. Yet what if my life was merely reviewed on paper?
Would I stand out as a remarkable man who accomplished great things? Certainly not.
Still this great God has gifted His Spirit to me. He has come to live inside of me. He has promised never to leave or forsake me.
Why? Well, certainly because He is far greater, far more compassionate, far more loving than I.
Whether I have hours, days, months or years left in my life, my heart yearns for these latter years to be far better than the former.
I believe that the true heart of compassion has no room for measurements. That is to say that if I show compassion towards the downtrodden but inwardly see myself as “better” than them I inwardly hold onto pride even as I outwardly portray the “right stuff.”
I pray that Jesus is not done with His transformation process in me.
I look at the overgrown trail behind me and marvel.
Look at what You have done in me! I was leading myself on the way of destruction, but You led me back.
I was doomed and without hope until You entered into the deepest and darkest places of my despair.
Jesus, You loved me when I was completely undeserving. The fact is that I am still undeserving and You love me still !
I admonish myself to again consider the words of Paul in Romans 12 as he says,
“For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you.”
If I look at the one who is clearly a slave to sin and judge them then I judge myself for my less apparent yet absolutely destructive sins.
Apart from Christ and His redeeming grace I am nothing but a wretch. Apart from His presence in my heart, I would still be chasing all of the worthless things that never satisfy.
One of the greatest forms of love towards our LORD and towards one another is when we remove ourselves from our self-constructed pedestals and become real.
If I pretend I have it all together then I alienate those who are hurting. If I pretend that I have all the answers then I show how distorted my self-image has become.
So what remains of my broken, decrepit pedestal needs to be ground into mulch and thrown into the fire.
For the greatest among us is a servant to all. Only one is meant to be raised up. The rest are meant for eternal gratitude on bended knee.
~ Mitch Salmon