Time has caught up with me, and today is the first day of my fourth decade on this earth. I won’t bore you with all of the accomplishments that I have achieved over the course of my lifetime, for not only would that list be short but it would negate the goal of this post and hopefully the goal of my life. That goal is the glorification of God.
As I write this, I am reminded of the many dreams and goals I have set for myself over the years. I wanted to be a guitar legend. I wanted to reconcile with my mom. I wanted to make six figures before all of my peers. I wanted to be a swordsman and a marksman like no other. I wanted to drive a nice car and live in a big house on a ranch.
The list could go on, as could yours. We all have aspirations of grandeur. If there is one thing that I have learned (and am still learning) in my three decades on this earth, it is that the hand that we are dealt is the best hand that we could have. Imagine if we actually attained all of our grandiose goals? What then? Would we be satisfied?
Hell and destruction are never full; so the eyes of man are never satisfied (Proverbs 27:20, KJV)
We would simply want more and more until the day that we die. This is our nature. We are never satisfied with the things of this earth. There is only One who satisfies.
I seem to have learned nearly every lesson in life the hard way, and this lesson is one of them. God has placed you and me here for His purposes, having predetermined our location, situations, and contemplations. All that we have is from Him and but for His grace we would have none of it. Our dreams are often selfish and our desires do not always come to pass and it is good that they don’t. Thus it has taken me thirty years and many trials to conclude that this is indeed true: God is in fact sovereign over all things, and I must be content with and appreciate that which God provides.
God has given me an excellent wife, 5 (plus one on the way) sweet and very unique kids who find new methods of breaking the rules daily, a rock solid church that is small but dedicated to the Bible, a job that I love and that provides for my needs, a house that isn’t all that big but is well built, and many other things that I don’t deserve. I continually fall short of His glory and am in constant need of His grace and deserve nothing less than His wrath.
God has also given me years of trials, expressed in crushing every idolatrous ambition that I set forth to consummate. Before I was a believer, I played rock and roll on the electric guitar and thought I was so good that I called myself Jimi Hendrix. When my wretched heart was brought to life in Christ Jesus, I quit playing the guitar for many months and lost my ability to shred. We owned a business that was utterly crushed by the so-called Great Recession of 2009. I lost my younger brother who I never knew in 2012 and just months later lost my sister Angie. My own career path has gone from me trying to do anything but IT because I hated it to pursuing full-time ministry and realizing that I didn’t have the guts for it to getting accepted into law school and not being able to attend because ain’t nobody got money fo’ dat to returning to IT as a software engineer. God has taught me to love IT and software engineering and I have found that it is indeed my calling, though it took me years to realize it.
You have these stories too. But we are informed that these things are gifts from God. These trials are meant to make us more like Christ by teaching us patience (James 1:2-4, Romans 8:28, etc.). As hard as it sounds, we are to take joy in them.
Maybe when I begin my fifth decade on this earth I will have learned to appreciate His grace more. In the mean time, may God help you to understand and appreciate His providence in your life. We won’t realize all of our goals on this earth. We will fail miserably. We won’t be everything we want to be. We won’t be everything others want us to be. That’s fine. We are who God planned for us to be and we depend on His grace every day to grow to be more like our Lord Jesus Christ.