I served for a time as a chaplain at the Fort Meade Veterans Center. We sang many older songs, but it seemed to me that there was always a spark that came to life in these aging men and women when we sang the songs of the Armed Forces. These veterans didn’t lose their lives serving our country, but many of them were forever impacted as their buddies lost their lives and they bore the physical, mental and emotional scars of their service. Much of what I see today tells me we are unworthy of these great Veterans.
When I was 25 I lacked confidence, courage and competence. Today I have gained some of each of those. But I often envy the young because of what they can do that I can no longer do—even though I finally have enough confidence to try it and know-how to do it! My brain has an idea and my body reacts like a rusty tractor. But I serve a God who is forever young. He does not wear out. His power, wisdom and love are always there for me regardless of how my body works or doesn’t work. Psalm 102:26-27.
Craig Groeschel captured my attention when he wrote that good decisions are easy to make while the best decisions are hard, risky and costly. That’s what keeps us from making the best decisions—we know they will cost us something valuable up front. Michael Pietrzak says the Latin root of the word “decision” means “to cut off.” So the best decisions come by eliminating any other course of action. It is sink or swim time. But what makes them the best decisions is the reward that comes later. Following Jesus is a costly, best decision with eternal reward!
I am reading in I Timothy 4:11-16 today and I am reminded I have a high calling. I am to set an example for believers. I am to devote myself to the public reading of Scripture, to preaching, and to teaching. I am to watch my life and my doctrine closely. I am to remember what I do makes an eternal difference. It is humbling. It is outside my natural ability. It requires the power and wisdom of God and the laying on of praying hands over me. I renew my oath by proclaiming “So help me God!”
Isaiah has provided a lot encouragement to me this week which has been a roller coaster ride. Isaiah 41:10 instructs us not to fear because God is with us. He will strengthen us. He will help us. He will uphold us by his righteous right hand. What does every child want when he or she wakes up afraid of monsters under the bed? The child wants someone who isn’t afraid of monsters to be with them. Isaiah says God isn’t afraid of any of our monsters and he chooses to be with us and help us.
Isaiah reminds us to trust in God. In his day, relying on horses was common military wisdom (Isaiah 31:1). In our day, we can rely on all kinds of things before we turn to God. When Sennacherib, king of Assyria, threatened Jerusalem and insulted God, Hezekiah wisely prayed to God instead of trusting in horses, chariots and making alliances with foreign governments. God wiped out 185,000 Assyrians all by Himself sending the great world power home in defeat (Isaiah 37). Sennacherib learned God was different than all the gods of wood and stone he had defeated in other lands.
In Daily Power, Craig Groeschel, describes faith as an invisible bridge. This word picture captured my attention. I can see some glad souls who would never slow down because they’ve achieved every man’s dream and have turned their car into an airplane! I see some doubting souls who would abruptly stop at the end of the road and never get on the bridge. I see others inching across the bridge for fear they will drop off the side even though they can see other cars in front of them. And I wonder which one I am….