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So That’s What He was Talking About

In Mark 4:9 Jesus said, “Whoever has ears to hear, let them hear.” This is certainly not the only time he referred to ears that cannot hear and eyes that cannot see. It has always been a strange and curious statement to me and I have often wondered, “What was Jesus trying to say? What was in their culture that would have immediately gotten their attention?” It has to be one of those sayings because He never explains it and everyone seems to get it. It is kind of like us saying, “I will text you, I will post it on my facebook, or look it up on the web.” In other times of history these sayings would sound silly but to us they have profound meaning.

eyes that cannot see

Then I read Psalm 135:15-18, “The idols of the nations are silver and gold, made by human hands. They have mouths, but cannot speak, eyes, but cannot see. They have ears, but cannot hear, nor is there breath in their mouths. Those who make them will be like them, and so will all who trust in them.”
In this song of praise used by the nation of Israel was a reminder of how people develop. We all become like the people we hang around with. We are also shaped by whatever we invest time and energy into. Over time, you talk like more and more like your friends, think more and more like the people you spend time with, get more and more connected to whatever you spend money on, and make decisions based on the information you interact with. It has always been this way because the human heart is designed to follow what it invests itself in. The psalmist points out the progression:
• People make idols. In ancient days, these were images that were assigned god-like qualities and people actually worshipped them in hopes of receiving some kind of favor from the supposed deity. In the modern world, we have depersonalized them but we still claim that wealth, status, and power will provide relational rewards like peace, love, and happiness.
• The idols are given human qualities. In their case, they had mouths, eyes and ears but none of them were functional. In our case, they have influence and make promises to us. For instance, just this morning I saw an ad that told me a pickup truck could add stability, confidence, and security to my life.
• People become like their idols. The things made by people are lifeless, inanimate, and unable to truly interact. They don’t see, hear, speak or feel. As people choose to depend on them, they also lose the ability to see, hear, speak or feel.
When Jesus said these words to an active Jewish community, they would have been reminded of this worship song. Every time they sang it in the synagogue, they would have thought, “I know people like that. They are interesting to be around but they don’t seem to get it any better than the idols they worship.” It explained a lot to me.
I was challenged by this today to deliberately stay focused on the living God. When I am excited by life, I want to remember to rejoice with Him. When I am disappointed by life, I want to remind myself He is still the best option. When I am in need of wisdom, I want to remember to go to Him first. I want my life to be highly influenced by the God who is alive.

Fighting Against Nonsense

It is a strange reality that a God of peace (Isaiah 9:6; Romans 15:33) calls us to be warriors. “Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are children born in one’s youth . . . They will not be put to shame when they contend with their opponents in court.” (Psalm 127:4-5) The fact is there are enemies at the gate that are trying to win over the hearts and minds of us and the people we care most about. There are intellectual, emotional and relational principles operating in our world that are unhealthy, unproductive, and ultimately unsustainable. We, therefore, need to contend with them. It is important to realize upfront that the “enemies” are not people. Jesus died for people. Jesus has a place in eternity for anyone who is willing to trust in Him as Savior, regardless of their background or the current state of their thinking. The adversaries we compete with are philosophies and points of view that are either based on nonsense or short-sighted conclusions.
Let me give you an example. Yesterday, I heard an educated, well-respected commentator talking about the role of people’s religion in public policy. In the midst of his explanation he declared that people ought to have religious freedom in America and that he, in fact, was a Christian. He then said in regards to public policy, “I don’t want anyone’s values telling me what I can and cannot do.” This is a good example of the nonsense that has come to sound intelligent. Every law is based on some value system. If there is not a generally accepted set of principles that guide a governing body, it is impossible to determine what is right and wrong. If you can’t determine what is right and wrong, you can’t create any laws to govern the consequences of people’s actions. As an individual, you could not have an opinion on anything if you didn’t have a value system. In the same way, a governing body cannot have an opinion on anything if they don’t have some sort of value system that guides their decision-making. I believe the statement was well-intended because the person who said it has a track record of trustworthiness. The statement just doesn’t fit real life.
There are lots of these kinds of statements being thrown around in our world today that are being used by people to confuse others in an attempt to grab power. For instance,
• Don’t be judgmental. You can’t make this statement without judging the people you are aiming the sentence at. You are judging people for being judgmental!
• It isn’t hurting anybody. The fact that you have to say this means you are doing something that everyone (including you) knows is harmful. At the bare minimum, it is hurting you and you are included in “anybody.” Besides, history has proven that we are all interconnected so anything you do impacts others.
• We need to be tolerant. The people who make this statement have it aimed at people they disagree with. In other words, they are intolerant of the people they are telling to be tolerant.
I could go on but suffice it to say, we all need to be alert to statements that are being made in our world that don’t protect our minds with sound logic or protect our hearts with moral excellence. We need to diligently train our minds to recognize and apply what is true. We need to train our wills to make choices that set our hearts free to love. We need to pray that common sense, moral courage, and humble thinking become popular. My goal for today is, “No nonsense!”

Preparing for Midlife

As many of you know, I have become the director of http://www.midlife.com. The reason I committed to this is my conviction that midlife is one of the primary developmental transitions in life. We all recognize that puberty is a major stage of development because of the hormonal, social, and emotional changes that take place. It turns out that midlife involves hormonal, social, and emotional changes as well. It has become an intense transition in the modern world because people are living longer. As a result, the average person will discover that he has his greatest influence between the ages of 50 and 70. He is mature, experienced, and still has plenty of energy to be involved in worthwhile pursuits.
The potential of our lives during these two decades is so great that it creates a dramatic transition. We become acutely aware of the changes in our physical bodies, the emotional needs of our soul and the impact of relationships to make us feel both better and worse about ourselves. If we are prepared for this time of life, it becomes one of our greatest experiences. We harness the possibilities and live more efficiently since we know what we like and don’t like. If we are not prepared, however, the pressure to become a highly influential individual overwhelms us and produces chaotic behavior.
One of the most important skills that prepares us for midlife is developing a friendship with Jesus. Your Creator knows exactly how you are wired and how to lead you through each developmental stage of your life. Jesus knows what if feels like to succeed in life so he can rejoice with your victories. He also knows what it feels like to be betrayed, abandoned, and mistreated so he can empathize with your setbacks. The place we learn about Jesus and get to know Him best is His word. Psalm 119:9-16 is a helpful guide for all of us who want to make the Bible an intricate part of our lives. In these few short verses we discover:
• Friends of Jesus apply God’s word to their lives, “How can a young person stay on the path of purity? By living according to your word.” (v. 9)
• Friends of Jesus memorize God’s word, “I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.” (v. 11)
• Friends of Jesus want to be taught God’s word, “Praise be to you, LORD; teach me your decrees.” (v. 12)
• Friends of Jesus are enthusiastic about the Bible, “I rejoice in following your statutes
as one rejoices in great riches.” (v. 14)
• Friends of Jesus think about God’s word, “I meditate on your precepts and consider your ways.” (v. 15)
If you want your midlife years to be the best years of your life, start today. Choose one of the habits above and practice it. This is not the only skill that helps you corral your influence but it is the one that makes the rest of them easier. May God do through you what is beyond you as you develop your friendship with Jesus.

The Right Hand Man

There are certain thoughts that shape history. Psalm 110:1 is one of them,

Footstool made from elephant’s foot

The LORD says to my lord;
“Sit at my right hand
until I make your enemies
a footstool for your feet.”
This summary of the work of Christ was written 900 years before Jesus was born and it shows up repeatedly in the New Testament. Jesus quotes this verse to challenge people’s thinking about the true identity of the Messiah (Luke 20:41-44). Peter quoted this passage as the crescendo of his first sermon on the day of Pentecost to which 3000 people responded (Acts 2:34-35). The writer of Hebrews was obviously influenced by this thought because he used it twice. In Hebrews 1:13 he points out that God never said this about any angel. I 10:11-14 he points out that all the other priests in Israel’s history stood while they carried out their duties but the eternal high priest has sat down because His work is finished!
Since this passage has been so prominent, I would like to add three thoughts to the discussion of what this verse means in our lives.
God is so smart He can see the future. This is a clear reference to the resurrection. Centuries before the event, the bible declared that the Messiah would defeat death and rise from the dead. Jesus repeated it numerous times before it happened. He knew it would happen. He knew nothing could stop it. He knew that it would be the ultimate test of His authority. If He proclaimed the resurrection and it didn’t happen, nothing He had ever said would hold any weight. But, pronouncing it ahead of time and then carrying it out proved once and for all that He knows no limits.
God is so powerful He is patient. We all tend to panic and get anxious because we are afraid life will get out of control. We see the challenges of life and we fear that they will continue to get worse and worse. We feel a strong need to intervene, manipulate or work harder in an effort to prevent chaos from taking over. There is certainly some legitimacy to this because we are called to work hard and be stewards of our lives and the earth we live on. God, however, never experiences any of this. He has done everything that needs to be done at the time it needed to be done to accomplish every necessary result. He has not neglected any detail and He is not threatened by the schemes of men or the setbacks of human history. Therefore, He has sat down and is willing to wait for the appointed time when He will return and set up His kingdom on earth.
He is so full of grace He will give everyone a choice. Jesus is not in a hurry because He wants everyone to decide whether they want to be His friends or His enemies. An offer of forgiveness has been extended to every person. A choice between life or judgment has been clearly laid out. People of every generation have been set apart to declare the truth that each of us will face Jesus. Those who won’t accept Him will face Him as a fair-minded, impartial, unrelenting judge. His desire, however, is that we face Him as our Savior and friend so He is providing abundant opportunities for individuals to respond.
What a privilege it is to know God’s Right Hand Man!

Tell the Story

Some Days are Tough!

Psalm 107:2 says, “Let the redeemed of the LORD tell their story.” I think one of life’s greatest moments is when you realize that everyone’s story is a story of redemption. By redemption, I mean that my life was heading in a direction that was not workable until God got a hold of it and turned it into something else far better. The Psalmist presents four categories of stories that need to be told:
“Some wandered in desert wastelands . . . They were hungry and thirsty” (v. 4-5) These are the disadvantaged among us. They find themselves with limited opportunity, limited training, and limited hopes. It is easy for them to get discouraged and bitter toward life. Among the poor and disadvantaged, however, are those who find unexplainable hope. They discover the permanent love of God amidst their temporary suffering and reflect a supernatural hope that gives them energy, determination and a positive outlook. It is a miracle every time it happens and the stories need to be told.
“Some sat in darkness.” (v. 10) These are the ones living among us who have been abused and mistreated. If you are willing to see it, you will quickly realize that we are surrounded by people who have been sexually abused, physically beaten, and emotionally tormented by people who were supposed to love them. When this gets mixed with bitterness (which is understandable) the victim gets locked in a dark world of despair and self-destructive behavior. It would not surprise any of us if everyone who has been through these unimaginable experiences lived defeated lives but some rise up. They discover the love of God. They find the will to forgive. They experience the miracle of healing that the Holy Spirit can perform in the human heart and they gain confident compassion to help others who have had to walk the same dark road. It is a miracle every time it happens and the stories need to be told.
Some became fools through their rebellious ways (v. 17) This one explains itself. There are lots of people running around who have made a long series of bad decisions that have created a foolish lifestyle. They may be too proud to have any real friends. They may be addicted to a substance that rules their lives. They may be so short-sighted in their decisions they have ruined every relationship and every opportunity that ever presented itself. Left to themselves, these people will continue to deteriorate until they have nothing. But, some of them experience a breakthrough. At the bottom of life, they find the giver of life. They humbly admit their inadequacies, cling to their Savior, and rebuild until their former life is a dim memory. It is a miracle every time it happens and the stories need to be told.
Some went out on the sea in ships.” (v. 23) These are the people who set out in their careers with great hopes and dreams. They are hard working and focused. Along the way, however, their best efforts prove inadequate and things either come up short or come apart. It is described in this Psalm as “the waves of the sea became so furious,” so that the men “reeled and staggered like drunkards; they were at their wits’ end.” (v. 27) These moments often devastate people who have put their best efforts and their only resources into a pursuit they expected would succeed. When it fails, or falls short, they become discouraged, their families suffer the consequences and their confidence often gets shattered. The response is often either bitterness or the loss of will to venture out again. The challenges seem too big since the obstacles are out of their control. In the midst of all this, however, people rise up who find their real purpose as a result of the failures. Business people seek to make money so they can support ministries and give to those less fortunate. People locked in jobs they don’t like find the courage to venture out into more satisfying pursuits. Financial shortfalls and career failures ought to discourage us but for many it is the catalyst that helps them discover their God-given dream. It is a miracle every time it happens and the stories need to be told.
What is your story of redemption and who would benefit from hearing it?

Respect the Power

Ever since I went to Germany, I have looked at verses like Psalm 101:2 differently. “I will be careful to lead a blameless life.” I used to think of statements like this as a call to noble self-discipline that would prevent me from being embarrassed when I met Jesus face to face. Then I rode on the Audubon. We were tooling along at a comfortable 120 miles per hour when a Porsche 911 turbo blew by us like we were standing still. What a rush. It stimulated my soul with sights, sounds and emotions. It felt like a predator stalking its prey when I caught a glimpse of the silver vehicle approaching in the mirror. It was like a flash of lightning as it shot past us. There was something primal about the roar of the engine and the whine of the turbocharger as it outmuscled us, outran us, and outdistanced us so quickly we could hardly take in the experience. As it passed us, thoughts raced through my mind. “Whoa, that is one powerful machine. That was awesome. I wish I could be in that driver’s seat. It must be a rush to go that fast with that much horsepower at your fingertips.”
When we later passed the same vehicle, my thoughts were quite different. Somehow that same car had gotten out of control causing a violent accident. I could still see pieces of silver sheet metal but the car was barely recognizable. There were parts strewn across the road and into the surrounding fields. Fire and smoke were billowing from the once impressive sports car. Rescue personnel were on the scene but you could tell from their demeanor that this driver had experienced his last great run. Everyone else on the road was reduced to slow speeds as officials took control of the scene. The power that was so impressive less than an hour before had now created dramatic damage. My thoughts were different this time, “Whoa, that was one powerful machine. I guess the driver should have paid closer attention. When you are running fast it doesn’t take much to turn a thrill ride into a disaster. My car could never have created an accident like that because it just isn’t powerful enough.”
That day gave me the real reason why we must all be careful in how we live. Our lives are powerful. They are much more like that Porsche than any of us realize. We have more influence on more people than we will ever be aware. If we ever accept the fact that our lives are impressively equipped and remarkably capable, we will pay close attention to how we live. We will view David’s thoughts in Psalm 101 as a driver’s manual for life:
• I will conduct the affairs of my house with a blameless heart. (v. 2)
• I will not look with approval on anything that is vile. (v. 3)
• I hate what faithless people do; I will have no part in it. (v. 3)
• I will have nothing to do with what is evil. (v. 4)
• Whoever has haughty eyes and a proud heart, I will not tolerate. (v. 5)
• My eyes will be on the faithful in the land (v. 6)
• The one whose walk is blameless will minister to me. (v. 6)
• No one who practices deceit will dwell in my house (v. 7)
If, however, we assume our lives are small and our actions don’t really affect anyone else, we will live carelessly. .Just about every week of my life I hear a story of someone who miscalculated the power of their lives. They thought their actions didn’t matter. They assumed no one would get hurt. They refused to believe their lives were highly influential. Then that moment happened when they got out of control and the crash was awful.
As you read this, I hope you gain a new respect for the power you have on the lives of those around you.

The Finish Line

I know in my life, God works by themes and for whatever reason the theme of this week is hope. Yesterday, I was reminded that hope is developed in my heart when peace and joy are present in sufficient quantities. Today I read Psalm 96 and was reminded that hope is tied together with the finish line. Here is how it happened. I was reading these words in verses 11-13, “Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad; let the sea resound, and all that is in it. Let the fields be jubilant, and everything in them; let all the trees of the forest sing for joy. Let all creation rejoice before the LORD . . .”
My mind started focusing on all the good things God has done for me and the privilege I have in knowing Him. I also reflected on how His greatness is displayed in the world He has made. In the past two weeks I have experienced the soothing sunshine of Southern California, the majestic forest of the Oregon coast and the never-ending greenery of the land around Greer’s Ferry Lake in Arkansas. The idea of the forest singing, waves clapping and all creation rejoicing were vividly apparent.
Then my mind was jolted by the rest of verse 13, ” . . . for he comes to judge the earth. He will judge the world in righteousness and the peoples in his faithfulness.”
All creation rejoices because God will judge the earth. At first, those two thoughts didn’t go together for me. Judgment seems too harsh a reality to be connected with worship and celebration so it stopped me in my tracks. I have been thinking since I read it, “Why did the Psalmist connect these two thoughts?”
I am sure I am going to be dwelling on this question for the rest of the day but the first conclusion I reached was that races are celebrated at the finish line. Everything before the conclusion of the contest is turmoil, competition, struggle, and uncertainty. Combatants are wrestling against the elements, each other, and potential danger in order to be declared the winner. Just yesterday, Marcos Ambrose won the Sprint Cup race at Watkins Glen amidst two crashes on the final lap.
In any competition, you see lots of rejoicing at the finish line by the winner but you see agony and determination while the contest is in action. Our lives are a lot like this. While we are living here on earth, we compete against spiritual forces, economic challenges, good and bad decisions by people in authority, natural disasters, and the evil intentions of others. It will not always be like this, however. One day God will judge the world and all things will be made right. A lot of people complain about this and try to convince us that it is not loving or kind or compassionate for God to sit in judgment of our lives. My response today is, “Can you imagine what it would be like if the game never ended? What if runners just had to run and run without a finish line? What if ballgames had no ending? What if your challenges in life never stopped – ever?” That would be cruel, pointless and terribly discouraging. We all compete for the possibility of the reward and count on the fact that the struggle is temporary.
Today I am praising God with all my heart because I know there will be great rejoicing at the finish line.

Travel Companion

I spent a lot of time this week making travel arrangements. Our career involves flights to many different locations to speak at churches and conferences. In addition, a missionary friend of mine is visiting the states soon and I have been searching for the best flight options for him. In the process of making reservations, I encountered numerous references to traveling companions. These are there, of course, because most people do not fly alone and the airlines want to give incentives to be my preferred carrier. Individuals tend to travel in groups because they want to share the memories associated with the trip whether they are business accomplishments or family experiences.
As I read Psalm 84 this morning, it struck me that this passage has been a lifelong travel companion to me. I was amazed at how many sayings in this song have been significant in my spiritual development and in the way I have raised my family.
“How lovely is your dwelling place, LORD Almighty! . . . Better is one day in your courts than a thousand elsewhere.” (v. 1, 10) These words have been set to music by Chris Tomlin in a song simply entitled, “Better is One Day.” That song is a catchy tune that has been sung by millions and repeated in my head millions of times. When life has thrown difficult circumstances my way this song has reminded me that setbacks are temporary while living in the presence of God is permanent. When life has given me rich experiences this song has reminded me that it will be even better when we are living face to face in His presence.
“My heart and my flesh cry out for the living God.” (v. 2) There are many times I feel in my soul the brokenness of life. Making a living is harder than it was supposed to be. Because of our imperfections, relationships take more work to maintain than God intended. The great memories of life fill our hearts with joy but are frustratingly short-lived. The disappointments leave a longing in my soul for what is truly permanent. God will always be there and He has everything I need. I have always found it interesting that Jesus said, “I am the bread of life, I am the light of the world, I am the way, I am . . .” He is ultimately what we are looking for but the temporary nature of life on earth requires us to be engaged in activities that are a mere shadow of the real life God has waiting for us. Psalm 84 has helped sharpen my focus on what matters the most.
“I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of the wicked.” (v. 10) This has been a simple, straightforward reminder that humility is always in order. I remember looking for the parade route at Disneyland when one of the men sweeping the streets paused, pointed down the road and said, “It is over there.” The thought crossed my mind, we are just like that man. The real show is Jesus and we are performing our duties in life while we point to the Savior and say to others, “He is over there. The real show is that way.”
“No good thing does he withhold from those whose walk is blameless.” (v. 11) This is the verse we hung our parenting on. We told our kids repeatedly that God would take care of them if they sought to walk blamelessly. We tried to be careful to define “blameless” as a humble pursuit of excellence as opposed to a self-centered pursuit of perfection but we challenged them nonetheless. We believed that God would honor them, guide them, and help them find their God-given dreams if they would keep make Him their travel companion in life. We have certainly had difficult times with our kids but so far so good on this front.
I don’t know what thoughts, songs or passages of the Bible have helped you in your journey but I know this passage has been a faithful friend on the rollercoaster ride of my life.

The Conductor

There is a phrase in Psalm 80 that is repeated three times:
Restore us, O God;
make your face shine on us,
that we may be saved.
It certainly has an historic context in which Israel is seeking God in repentance in hopes that God would forgive them and restore them in their land. They tended to live cyclically from obedience to warning to discipline to repentance to restoration. As a result, many of their worship songs contain these themes. This is one such song where the writer recognizes they are in between discipline and restoration and he is helping people focus their hearts.
As I read the words, I was reminded that God is a faithful God who can be counted on to “shine his face upon us.” This is the idea that God directs His favor toward His people and provides what they need. It may be encouragement, guidance, comfort, motivation or any one of a hundred other needs that cause our hearts to remain calm and our steps to remain focused. He is like a conductor that calls the right instrument into play at exactly the right time.
This impressed me because I just had an experience where I knew God had orchestrated circumstances for the good of His people. A man met me at the Portland airport to drive me to Cannon Beach for a family camp. During the two-hour drive he asked me, “Have you ever heard of Capernwray?” He asked because Cannon Beach Christian Conference Center hosts Ecola Bible School which is patterned after the school at Capernwray. The name was not familiar to me so I asked him to explain. He went on to tell me that it was a ministry located in England that was begun by Major Ian Thomas back in the 1940s. It houses a one-year Bible school program that immerses students in the exploration of God’s word “as they are figuring out what they want to be when they grow up.” The ministry has since expanded to include centers in Europe, Asia, North America, Australia and New Zealand.
It was an interesting conversation but it took on greater meaning the next morning at breakfast when a family asked me, “Have you ever heard of Capernwray?” If they had asked me at breakfast the day before, I would have had no answer but God had orchestrated events so I was able to say, “Yes, I have.” They then asked, “How would you describe it to someone else?” When I repeated to them what I had heard in the car the day before they said, “Wow, that’s a pretty good description.” It was important to them because the two men had met their wives at Capernwray. One of them was currently a teacher in the ministry and several other family members, including their own children, had been impacted by the one-year program.
God didn’t have to do any of that but it gave me instant credibility with this group. It was one more example of how He directs His favor toward us and guides our steps for His honor. As we all go through our day today, let’s rest in the fact that God will orchestrate the events of our lives so that we are in the right place at the right time to impact the right people.

Seasonal Rewards

I find myself asking the question, “What am I really looking for in life?” I have gained just enough life experience to realize the answer changes with different stages of development. As I read Psalm 71 this morning, I saw the psalmist seeking the same answers.
“For you have been my hope, Sovereign LORD, my confidence since my youth.” (v. 5) When I was a young man finishing high school and pursuing a degree with a subsequent career, I was looking for confidence. I needed to believe that I was capable and that my skills were valuable enough to be offered a job. It was easy to wonder if I really had what it took and yet my soul was filled with urgency to figure out what my contribution to life would be. During those early years, I prayed a lot for confidence and the belief that I could do what was expected of me.
As I entered the core of my career, my desire for confidence was matched by a longing for personal power. “I will come and proclaim your mighty acts, Sovereign LORD . . . do not forsake me, my God, till I declare your power to the next generation.” (v. 16, 18). I had come to realize that I had the capabilities for my chosen career path and now I wanted to know if I would develop the influence and persuasiveness to reach my potential. The career I committed to was that of being a pastor. Early on I proved I could prepare a sermon, lead a worship service and preach coherently. I hadn’t proven, however, whether I could motivate a group of people and rally them to use their talents to pursue a common vision. The need for confidence was now being replaced with a healthy desire for power that would help others discover the greatness of God.
At some point, I convinced myself that God had supplied the power to influence others and my focus turned to honor. Not the kind of honor that would elevate me but the kind of honor that proclaimed I was part of something truly significant. “You will increase my honor.” (v. 21) As more people are influenced by the power God has put in you, a sense of honor develops. Others thank you for what you have done in their lives. Others proclaim the valuable lessons they have learned from you. They point to you as a model worth following and credit you for much of the good that has developed in their lives. This goes beyond power because you have an influence on others without being physically present.
Finally, the need changes to protection. Eventually, our bodies give out and render us unable to do what used to be easy. “Do not cast me away when I am old; do not forsake me when my strength is gone.” (v. 9) I am now watching my dad traverse through this stage. He is 82 years old and suffers from visible effects of the stroke he experienced when he was 48. He is mentally sharp and fully informed on the political and social issues of our day. Physically, however, he has no choice except to move slowly. He couldn’t possibly run away from pursuers. He would be helpless against anyone who wanted to attack him or force him against his will. The pressing need in his life is to be protected and taken care of by the people who love him and have been taken care of by him for years.
I am praying for the grace to accept these stages of my growth as they become necessary. I don’t want to be in a hurry to get to the next stage but I also don’t want to be stubborn when the time is right.