So much time has passed since I took those first steps of faith toward the life I now lead. So many experiences, both joyful and sad. I remember the night my Mom led me to Jesus. I was just a young boy, six years old. I remember my fear of getting shots at the doctor’s office; how brave I felt as an older boy when my Dad complimented me for offering my arm freely for a shot. I remember when I decided to go to Bible college. No money. Poor study habits. Not sure what to make of it all. Just a sense that God was leading me in that direction and that I wanted to follow Jesus all the days of my life.
So many life decisions throughout the years. Some seemed inconsequential at the time, but proved pivotal. Others seemed huge, but time has given me a more realistic perspective of their role. Yet, they helped form me.
Today, elite liberal Western culture, particularly in mainstream media, seems to laud indecisiveness, mistaking it for nuanced reflection and savvy multicultural understanding. This is why Vice-President Dan Quayle, President George W. Bush, and Sarah Palin are lampooned as buffoons, while President Jimmy Carter, President Bill Clinton, and President Barack Obama are lauded as sophisticated and brilliant communicators on the international stage. The former had their downfalls, to be sure. Indecisiveness was not among them. I cannot say the same for the latter, particularly in terms of national security.
They spent their lives becoming who they were (and are) at the time of their forays into public office, just as I have spent my life becoming who I am now. Although it takes me some time to make the most critically important decisions of my life, once I make them, I proceed with conviction, free of doubts.
It is a worthwhile exercise to review your life in terms of a timeline, noting events, conversations, milestones, relationships, and challenges which have formed you. If you haven’t done so yet, you might find it to be revealing. As I look back at my timeline, I see so much that has happened. Yet, with age, I am learning to interpret those events with more mature eyes. Some of what seemed definitive at the time is now much more opaque. That is, those events surely were a part of making me who I am, but they do not define who I will always be. And that is a comforting thought, especially when some of the memories, and my responses to them, are profoundly painful.
It is with this understanding that I gaze into my still cloudy future with a bit more hopefulness, recognizing that God is good and that the purposes he designed for me are not the stuff of lampooning. Far away from the public eye, ever in obscurity, he continues to refine my character and deploy me as his ambassador into the margins of a lost and dying world.