A few months ago, over brunch on Sunday morning, Jennifer and I reminisced about our years of marriage. We talked about how through the challenges and triumphs we’re amazed with where we’ve ended up.
We started out in a tiny apartment in a part of town that was so bad that one day I asked a neighbor if our car was safe.
He responded, “Oh yeah. The car thieves who live here don’t steal cars in this neighborhood.”
We reflected on nearly going bankrupt in a business we owned a few years later.
Then spending ten years as a pastor and wrestling to make ends meet with our family of four.
After that struggling to build the business we currently have while trying to live on virtually nothing the first few years.
And I remember sometimes lying awake at night worrying about how we would make it.
Yet, we remarked how miraculously we’ve been blessed beyond all reasonable expectations.
We have a great business and find ourselves financially independent.
Our marriage has not only survived but grown through the inevitable ups and downs.
We’re both healthy though with a few extra kinks in morning.
And we’re close to both of our kids who are successful adults.
Later that afternoon as I worked in our yard I wondered, “Why? And why us?”
I’m not trying to over analyze it and I certainly realize it’s simply because of God’s grace. But I also look at friends who are believers yet seem to continually struggle with financial, health or family issues.
I sensed God respond that it’s not for me to know why he works in their lives how he does. Heck, it’s hard enough for me to just figure out what he’s doing in mine.
But as I pondered that question I realized it isn’t because I’m smarter, work harder or am some spiritual super saint. I think my wife could verify that.
Yet, I do think there are a couple of elements that are at least part of the equation.
First, for Jennifer and me the commitment we made to God is for real and guides our lives. She grew into that relationship gradually. I struggled and fought it all the way. But for both of us it’s real and forever.
And second, we’ve spent a lot our lives trying to help others find that amazing life we’ve experienced. Sometimes as volunteers in organizations. And for a period of time I pastored a church and she led children’s ministries.
A verse I read this morning reminded me of those thoughts on that Sunday afternoon.
Jesus said, “He who is not with me is against me, and he who does not gather with me scatters.”*
It seems like it revolves around a choice. First, to live in a real relationship with him. And second to help others experience that life also. I know there’s more but I think those are key.
We can experience the miraculous life or we can miss it. The choice is ours.
What are your insights?
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*Matthew 12:30 (NIV)