Most of you know that I live a pretty active lifestyle. I enjoy running! Whether it is running the roads of Oakland Township or running a full ministry schedule, I am constantly on the move, generally not allowing the grass to grow under my feet.
This past month has been different and in many ways difficult for me because I have been inundated with issues of age!
It began with a phone call from my daughter, Megan, asking us to come down for a visit in which we were informed that in April 2016 we would become grandparents. I love kids and I am thrilled at the prospect of a grandchild. However, in my mind’s eye I was far removed from the image I had of grandparents.
Not long after coming to terms with my pending title change, I hurt my back while preparing for a marathon in November. Thus for the past several weeks I have been nursing three herniated disks and part of my rehabilitation found me using a cane to move around when my back was being less cooperative. Nothing wrong here, right? When you have an injury you do what you need to do to heal it and then you move on… None of this was a blow to my ego or my image until one fateful night with my cane in hand, a youth commented: “Pastor Ed, you look so old!” OUCH!
What happens when the image we have of ourself conflicts with the reality of what others see?
Generally speaking, that is when we should really step back and take a long look that the image we have of ourself because it is probably time for an adjustment.
This time of adjustment is bound to happen when we come humbly to the cross. As we come before the cross with battered and broken images of our sinful self, we are privileged to receive an image that presents us as the beloved children of God. This image has been provided through the sacrificial grace and forgiveness of Jesus Christ. At the cross,
I’ve been redeemed by the blood of the Lamb, Saved by the Holy Ghost I am.
All my sins are washed away; I’ve been redeemed! Praise the Lord!
But what happens when the image of our faithfulness and forgiveness continues to conflict with the reality of our life?
There is no doubt that we are a forgiven people! But “those who say, “I love God,” and hate their brothers or sisters (another), are liars; for those who do not love a brother or sister (another) whom they have seen, cannot love God whom they have not seen…” – 1 John 4:19-20.
As Christians, we can celebrate that “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus…but those who live according to the Spirit (must) set their minds on the things of the Spirit…” – Romans 8:1-5
None of us can change the reality of our aging, but we can be sure to make our actions reflect the joy of our salvation. We can be sure to embrace the image of bestowed upon us by our Lord and Savior. May it be so in my life and in yours. Be blest!