I read a post by Trevin Wax yesterday who announced his 29th birthday, and thanked the Lord that he was not like so many stereotypical stories of people just coming back to church after wasting their twenties away, and usually living in regret. As someone who is in the midst of his 31st year, I can tell you that I relate more with the crowd then with Trevin on this one.
Trevin reflected on the day he boarded a plane for Romania with a one-way ticket. He was only 20 and off to the mission field he went! He said that together with his wife they often wonder and hope that if God so willed, would they be willing to get up and go as they once did?
Reading this story made me reflect on my own story, and ask, “Where did the fire go?”
As a young teen I was so passionately on fire for God! What do most teenage boys dream of when they dream of their twenties? Being a successful business man? Being filthy rich? Marrying a supermodel? Becoming a professional athlete?
I dreamed of living in a small apartment devoted to prayer! That was my dream. I had a fireplace and a small prayer bench; no T.V. or computer. Just me, a prayer bench and God. That was my childhood fantasy. People would say that I was going to become a preacher and one man even prophesied over me that I would pastor a mega-church. Well, I did not dream of any of that either. Only a prayer bench, me and God. That was it.
I would have gone anywhere. I would have done anything.
Sure I did go. I took a one-way train ride across the country to Bible college in Saskatchewan. I also traveled across the country in the opposite direction because I felt God calling me to a pastor internship in Nova Scotia. But why did I go? As a young teen I would have gone because of a passion shut-up in my bones, but between then and when I actually went, something changed.
I went because something changed. I went because in going I had hoped I would have kindled the fire again. I did not go because I had a fire, I went to get a fire. The fire I once had had somehow been extinguished.
Something sucked the oxygen out of my soul. Something took the wind out of my sails. Sometime between dreaming of a life of prayer and journeying off to do God’s calling, I became dry and brittle inside.
My friends may read this and wonder in bewilderment. “But look at all of the things you’ve done and look at what you’ve accomplished! You’ve traveled this huge country, become a preacher, learned so much by what you read and write.” Yes, but all of that is – on the one hand – superficial, and on the other, none of this represents being fruitful, since all the way along I have quite. I have not in fact accomplished anything in my twenties for which I can be proud, save one: My Wife!
Marrying Yecenia was quite an accomplishment, I don’t want to belittle the fact that marrying her was the wisest decision I’ve made. I could write a thousand posts expounding on that fact alone – I am my beloveds and my beloved is mine!
Nonetheless the fact remains, I have by and large wasted the past ten years of my life. And, as Trevin observed, a great deal of regret follows from this realization. The only question remaining is how am I going to handle that fact with integrity? What I am going to do with that information?
About a year before my dad passed away I remember listening to him pour out his regrets. His entire life – from his perspective at least – was one failure compounded upon another. The only advice I could think to give him was to remind him that life wasn’t over: “Dad, you’re not dead yet! There’s still hope, you can still turn things around. You can still make things matter.”
On that note, here is a list of things I want to accomplish before I turn forty:
- Complete my Bachelor in Classical Civilization
- Become fluent in the Spanish language
- Be able to read the Greek New Testament fluently
- Complete a Masters in Theology
- Get at least one book published
But beyond this short but daunting list Yeci and I remain open to the call of the Lord, to travelling and to ministry in whatever form it may present itself.
“Time” is unrelenting, unbiased and without mercy. “Time” is no respecter of person, lifestyle, social class, race, age, ethnicity or religion. The only question is, how are we going to handle this fact with integrity?
“Remember Lots wife.” – Jesus