Monday, March 9, 2015

Coming Soon ... Or Not

image used under Public Domain license, photo obtained from pixabay
We've used several prompts from 1,000 Awesome Writing Prompts by Ryan Andrew Kinder  As I was browsing them, yesterday, one stuck out.  The prompts are aimed at creating a piece of fiction or a fictional poem.  What I write, here or in my books, isn't fiction.  But the prompts can be a kickstarter for some interesting trains of thought. 

24. You have twenty minutes left to live. What do you do? How are you so certain your life will be ending so soon? 

No, my demise is not imminent.  I have no clue when I might leave this life.  But the prompt played into some of my recent thinking.  Follow along with me.  I think it's worth the journey.

I think we all hit some point in our lives where we permanently become aware of our mortality.  The understanding that there is an end date to this life comes to the forefront.  Let's start with a familiar verse.

Ecclesiastes 12:8 (KJV)  Vanity of vanities, saith the preacher; all is vanity.

We've all heard that one.  And the thousands of sermons about how things of this earth aren't all that important.  We need a priority shift.  But preachers rarely explain very well why.  But God does, in the preceding verse.

Ecclesiastes 12:7 (KJV)  Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it.

The reality is that there's an earthly termination date.  And that seems to scare the faith right out of us.  It's easier to deal with what we can see and touch.  But there's always a tinge of "What if I'm wrong about God and what comes after death?".  There's still the uncertainty and, if we're really honest about it, a lack of trust in our own perceptions.  But, like anything else, we have to decide what we believe and what level of proof we need to believe.  One I've chosen to believe is this:

1 Corinthians 15:22 (KJV)  For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.

I've been blessed or lucky enough (whichever term floats your boat) to have enough experiences to solidify that for me.  Too many coincidences to be coincidences.  Too many times avoiding total disaster in situations where my own efforts and knowledge wouldn't have cut it.  Too many times of redemption after situations where what I said or did should have gone unforgiven and resulted in an earthly dead end.

Much of that was when I wasn't walking with God and had to remove all kinds of thoughts about who He is and how He thinks.  But, somehow, God keeps redirecting my focus and letting me move forward.

I've mentioned past experiences giving me God as a frame of reference.  Maybe a mini biography of sorts can highlight that a bit.  The first instance comes from 20/20 hindsight.  I was born with some physical problems that required a series of operations if I was going to walk.  I've been told that, during one of those operations, I stopped breathing for over two minutes.  Two minutes or more without oxygen going to the brain is supposed to create brain damage.  Unless I started out as some sort of super genius (which I'm not claiming), there was no damage.  That happened at an age when I couldn't embellish my experience, but was told about it after the fact.

In my mid or late teens I hit a stubborn, rebellious streak.  It included turning away from God and becoming a substance abuser.  And it lasted almost two decades.  There were a variety of instances during that time when I probably shouldn't still be around.  And some had the potential of taking others besides myself.  Only God's grace and mercy could have prevented what should have been the results of those.

Then there came a brief period, after I was once again willing to somewhat acknowledge God, where I became certain God was telling me I wasn't going to make my 36th birthday.  And, knowing my lifestyle, I was resigned to that possibility.  A heart to heart conversation with a good friend and a very intense spiritual weekend changed that.  There have been some detours and a few steps back.  But it's been mostly 32 years of growth and learning, developing a relationship with my Savior.  And I recognize, now, that God was showing me that my flesh wasn't getting past my 36th birthday unscathed, not my physical self.

That could all sound like "look at me", but it's not.  I was flawed and I still am.  But there's one unchanging element throughout my history on earth.  God never let go of me and He never stopped pouring out His love, grace and mercy on me.  Where we can doubt and founder, God stays steady and true.  Which brings me back to our writing prompt.

No, I still don't have any idea whether I'm on earth for 15 more minutes or 40 more years.  But I've reached the point where I recognize that this play has a limited run.  I've had a breathing issue come up that is effected by climate.  As a result, when it gets cooler or too hot, I don't go out much, watch most of my church's services online.  And there's a whole time of the year when I'm not out doing outreach.  Fortunately, I can do some things for the church online and over the phone.

God let me go through a whole winter of that and conclude there has to be a better way.  A way I can share with others the joy they can experience with God, just like I have.  Sure, I could do some of that with my online presence on social media, my blogs, and my books.  But there's nothing quite like a face to face encounter where people can hear your tone of voice and see your facial expression as you tell them how much they're loved by God.

I've found a place on the mission field where the climate is temperate all year long, so the breathing should be better longer.  And a friend of mine pastors there, which means I could also help the church there.  So, that's what I'm planning.  First, an exploratory trip to be sure we're a mutual fit.  Then, either move there or start working on figuring out plan B.

Now.  Here's the kicker.  One, there's a procedure to be approved by our church to be officially sent out.  And there are details to be dealt with.  And, third, I don't actually have the money to do this.  So, like everything else these days, God's in control of the results.  I'm going to start a crowd funding campaign on GoFundMe, communicate with my church for spiritual backing, get some prayer cards printed, and be ready for God to do whatever He's going to do.  Because, as we've said here before, everything God does for us is for our benefit.

John 11:25 (KJV)  Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live:

Psalm 92:14 (AMP)  [Growing in grace] they shall still bring forth fruit in old age; they shall be full of sap [of spiritual vitality] and [rich in the] verdure [of trust, love, and contentment].

Isaiah 6:8 (KJV)  Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I; send me.

Will you add this new spiritual adventure to your prayer list?

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