I know that my redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand on the earth. Job 19:25

Yesterday I spent my birthday doing something I’ve had a life-long love for which was instilled in me by my father at a very young age. I’ve always loved preaching. I remember lining up the kitchen chairs and inviting my brothers to ‘church’. Sometimes they came. Sometimes I just spoke to empty chairs.

The lesson for the day was how we should always be ready to tell others of what Jesus has done in our lives. Growing up in a pastor’s family I have to admit that I always admired the testimony other people had. I enjoyed listening to how Jesus had saved them from the pain of abuse and the power of addiction. I envied their stories because, in my shallow way of thinking at the time, I saw my life as boring, uninteresting and void of anything to share.

Now, at the age of 59, I look back on that thought process and wonder what I was thinking. I also look back over those years since then and marvel at God’s wonderful grace.

If you had told me ten years ago that I’d return to a position in which I’d be able to teach the Word of God I’d have scoffed at you. I was divorced, fighting legal problems and on the edge of bankruptcy. It seems in most church circles legal problems and financial issues are forgivable. Divorce is not.

Maybe that’s why I’m so much in love with a Lord and Savior who consistently brought people into my life individually and through the written word to show me that although man’s grace is limited, God’s grace is unconditional and unlimited.

Maybe that’s why I’m so thankful for my wife and best friend as well as a few other people in my life who refused to give up on me; refused to let me give up on myself.

Maybe that’s why I’m so thankful for my church family at ZionLutheranChurch. They know I’m not perfect. They know I’m flawed; that I have bruises and weaknesses. They know they have the same struggles. And so we travel this journey together seeking the Divine Guidance we need to draw other like-minded, wounded people to a savior, a redeemer that lives.

The older I get the more I realize I don’t know. But I know my redeemer lives and a living redeemer is enough. Today I begin a new year of pilgrimage. I don’t know where it will lead, but I know who will lead me through it.

PRAYER: Lord Jesus, while others may mark my life as a failure or question my walk with you, I thank you that you love me as I am. Give me strength to walk with you in the days ahead. Amen.

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