Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Midlife Celebration

Then I looked, and I heard around the throne and the living creatures and the elders the voice of many angels, numbering myriads of myriads and thousands of thousands, saying with a loud voice,
“Worthy is the Lamb who was slain,
to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might
and honor and glory and blessing!”
And I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea, and all that is in them, saying,
“To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb
be blessing and honor and glory and might forever and ever!”
And the four living creatures said, “Amen!” and the elders fell down and worshiped. Revelation 5:11-14

Stop for a moment and scan your midlife disappointments, regrets, and fears. Ask yourself what you have been hoping in. What is really worth celebrating? What is really worth mourning? Force yourself to use the values of eternity as your measuring tool for the here and now. Let eternity argue with the values of the surrounding culture, which says life is all about youth, appearance, success, material ease, power, and control…

If you listen to eternity, you can stand in the middle of midlife regret and celebrate. Yes, you did many things that you should not have done. And, yes, you failed to do many good things that you should have done. But in the midst of it all God was still working. He was freeing you all along from the one dark, horrible thing that was your biggest problem all along: your sin. He was delivering something to you that was far better than anything you could have ever conceived for yourself: a place in his eternal kingdom. All of our most crushing disappointments are but blips on the map when viewed from the perspective of the never-ending glory of eternity. With the loud songs of eternity in your ears, stand in the middle of the loss of your youth and your fears of aging and celebrate…

God lets you look into then, so that as you face the trials of now you will have hope that is stronger than your disappointment, encouragement that overwhelms your regret, and a dream to motivate you that is better than any dream you could have conjured up for yourself.

Lost in the Middle: Midlife and the Grace of God, Paul David Tripp, Shepherd Press, 2004, pp. 308, 315

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