In 2012 I am scheduled to turn 40. This month my sister will become a gorgeous 50, and later in the year, my mom a beautiful 80. We’ve talked about how we should celebrate: dinner out, a Caribbean cruise, a trip to Hawaii … it’s fun to dream! We really should celebrate the gift of life and our good God who gave it to us.
I admit it. I’m struggling a bit with turning 40. It sounds old, and I don’t want to be old. Well, I do want to be mature in wisdom and experience … but physically, give me back my 20s! I was telling a friend the other day that the best thing about growing older is looking back at how God has worked through circumstances for good … Romans 8:28 is really true. Not that I doubted it, but it’s a blessing to see it ring true in real life. God is faithful! God loves me! God has a plan for me!
Lately I’ve spent time with someone who has the habit of wishing she were somewhere else. When it’s almost the holidays, she can’t wait for a break. When she gets there, she seems miserable, longing to get back to normal. At our house we call this being an Eeyore. Well, I gave this friend a pretty little sign for Christmas that says, “Cherish today.” I was astounded when she asked me, “Why should I cherish today? Why shouldn’t I look forward to the future?”
Missionary to Ecuador and martyr Jim Elliot said, “Wherever you are, be all there. Live to the hilt every situation you believe to be the will of God.” Jim’s insight challenges me to cherish today and my God-given mission. Instead, I often find myself whining quietly or out loud about my circumstances. It is usually when I hear about trials other people are going through that I stop complaining and start thanking.
“But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul will be required of you; then whose will those things be which you have provided?’ ‘So is he who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.'” (italics mine)
I want to cherish today, and the only way I can do that is to live “rich toward God.” As I spend time with God in His Word and talk to Him in reliance throughout my day, I will have the correct focus. And even when I don’t feel like I have the strength to turn to God, He will hear my cry and come to my aid. And yes, we as God’s children have a lot to look forward to! One day there will be no more tears, no more pain, no more aging, no more sin, and no more death. God has given us a mission and a future – what a privilege. Forty? Bring it on!
Let your conduct be without covetousness; and be content with what you have: for He has said, I will never leave you, nor forsake you. – Hebrews 13:5
A merry heart makes a cheerful countenance: but by sorrow of the heart the spirit is broken. The heart of him that has understanding seeks knowledge: but the mouth of fools feeds on foolishness. All the days of the afflicted are evil: but he that is of a merry heart has a continual feast. Better is a little with the fear of Yahweh than great treasure with trouble. – Proverbs 15:13-16
A sound heart is the life of the flesh: but envy is rottenness to the bones. – Proverbs 14:30
But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain that we can carry nothing out. – 1Timothy 6:6-7
Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatever state I am in to be content. I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: everywhere and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. – Philippians 4:11-13
Suggested reading: One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp
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