I turned forty recently. I don’t feel any different and apart from the increase of a few white hairs making their way into my stubble I’m told I don’t look the part either. Yet it seems the responsibility of the masses to remind me that my life is now half over. Thus was the position I found myself in as I sat across from a friend over coffee on this most recent birthday morning.
“What do you want to do that you haven’t done with the first half of your life?” he asked.
I was at a loss. In my youth I was all about what I could do for God. It was a drive born of zeal and facilitated in judgment. I had accomplished many things. Yet for all I had accomplished I had left a trail of wounded and broken souls in my wake. Some I had broken. Others I had found in such a state and simply passed them by leaving them to sink. Worse still, others I had drowned with the waves and weight of my self-righteous judgments. Regardless, over the past three years I had become haunted by the shipwrecks.
As I reflected upon the inquiry I vocalized a truth that I had long been harboring. I wasn’t really interested in “doing” anything. I wanted to “be” something.
“I want to be a man of grace” I replied.
Two days later I was walking the streets of Little Italy in San Diego. As I traversed the crowd the Holy Spirit began testifying of the truth that every person was a vessel meant to carry the Spirit of God. Sadly most of these vessels were adrift, lost at sea. Some were sinking beneath the waves. Yet for all, this truth remained; only the grace of God can save.
As this somber reality invaded my conscience I passed by a lonely store front. In another life it had been a showroom for seafaring vessels. Atop its faded brick exterior was affixed a testament of hope.
“A rising tide lifts all boats”
If a rising tide lifts all boats, may grace ever be the tide.
My shins hurt. Ache to be precise. With every step I take they tell me how much they despise me and my tendency to act upon a whim.
It started last July. I was 39, weighed 205 pounds and felt like crap. As I sat on my porch swing like a bloated slug I said, “I gotta do something.” Then on a whim I just got up and decided I was going to run a mile. I can’t tell you for certain how long it took me to run that mile because I’m pretty sure the space time continuum came to a screeching halt out of pure shock! All I know for certain is that when everything stopped jiggling and oxygen again returned to my brain restoring conscious thought, I was alive. No thanks to my whim!
The truth is, what I thought was just a whim last July was actually a catalyst to a transformation. After recovering from my 1 mile near death experience a few days later I said, “I wonder if I could do two miles?” I found out I could. I went on to run my first 5K, then another, then a 6 mile obstacle race through the woods all while carrying an 8 pound sledge hammer! Ya, that’s me and my hammer on the right…mud soaked and wearing man tights! By the beginning of October I lost over 20 pounds in under 10 weeks. Today my shins hurt because I’m training for a marathon. A race I agreed to run with a friend…on a whim.
Here is the thing. Whims have the power to kill you; like bringing home a new Ford F150 King Ranch truck without discussing it with your spouse! A cautionary tale for another day. But, whims also have the uncanny ability to spur us on to accomplish great things! Those moments that spring forth from a random “what if” or an “I wonder” like Jonathan to his armor barer in 1 Samuel 14:1-15. A seemingly random whim of “Hey, what if we went over to the garrison of those uncircumcised dudes?” ended in a slaughter of their national enemies!
Truth be told, some “whims” are actually the Holy Spirit prompting us to step out in faith and make a change. What about you? What whim is the Holy Spirit actually spurring you to act on and allow Him to work through? Trust me…it’s not the King Ranch!!!!