I turned 50 on December 31, 2013. I've tried writing about it, but the posts get too long. There is a lot to say with 50 years under your belt.
I guess I'm a little depressed. Not because of turning 50. I actually like being 50. I'm just in God's refining fire right now. The work I'm doing right now is simply awful, but God has many purposes with it. One purpose, for the job, is to ensure I don't ever try to return to it, or jobs like it. When God wants to make sure I don't return to something there is a long drawn out burn time. When things get too hot I like to run back to what feels safe. The problem is what feels safe to me isn't ever really safe. What feels safe is settling for less than God.
Of course what God wants isn't safe. Dietrich Bonhoeffer very eloquently said, "When Christ calls a man, he bids him come and die." God is not at all safe. Again I'll hand the keyboard to Bonhoeffer: "Being a Christian is less about cautiously avoiding sin than about courageously and actively doing God's will." OUCH!
We like to focus on what we see as the "good for me" portions of the Bible. We like to make the Bible tell us, "Wealth and health show how much God loves us!" But Jesus never teaches us such things. Jesus, instead promises us, "In this world you will have trouble. But take heart I have overcome the world," John 16:33. Wealth, health, and youth are what the world desires, and much of the Church in America has hopped on the world's bandwagon. Honestly how can anyone argue that God hasn't greatly blessed the healthy, wealthy, and young? But Jesus tells us, "But take heart for I have overcome the world." Jesus desires to overcome what the world values and promotes. Rather than embracing the way the world measures what is important, we need Jesus to overcome the world in us, and through us.
Jesus commands us, "A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, you must love one another. By this everyone will know you are my disciples, if you love one another," John 13:34. Some will say to me, "Well God can bless us with health, wealth and we can still love one another." That would all be good, but the truth is, we don't love as Christ commands. What is more Jesus promises us he has overcome the world. To overcome the world means he has destroyed the world's ways, systems, desires, sins, and power to enslave and destroy human beings. Health, wealth, and youth are the world's desires, and God sent his only Son, to overcome what the world loves, values, and promotes. Jesus came to save us from health, wealth, and youth. Jesus came to give us true wealth, health and life. "Now this is eternal life: That they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent," John 17:3. Jesus has come to give us relationship with God, and so that we may have relationship with our fellow humans. In God' economy wealth and health is measured in relationship with him, and the humans Jesus came to love and die for. Better to live a short, sickly life with the promise of eternal relationship with God than to live rich, die old, and lose your immortal soul.
"There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it is the path to death's house." Proverbs 14: 12. Honestly, there is nothing more dangerous or mean than a Christian who has convinced him/herself that God blesses with things. God's blessings are rich relationships and an eternity with him.
Don't know what the next years will bring to me, but I hope the pursuit of God in relationship will become all consuming!!