When you move from one place to another you unearth surprising things.
During our recent move to Hautvillers, France (near Reims) I came across a box of old things. No, it wasn’t dinosaur bones but … hmmm .. ah, hum… ‘C’mon, David, out with it!” Okay, okay, just be patient. It was some old love letters that I had written to Phyllis just before our marriage. Wow! I was embarrassed by that 21-year old lover boy. No wonder I got the girl! My wife probably wonders where that romantic fellow went. Me, too!
But for a little while those letters lifted me back to another time, 37 years ago and I felt some of the hopes and dreams I had back then. Suddenly, a question occurred to me that I had never thought about. If that 21-year old David could have looked into the future and have seen the 58-year old version of himself would he have been disappointed or elated? I suspect he would have been a tad disappointed because that guy was going to accomplish some incredibly great things. He had big ideas, high hopes, and a confidence that great things were ahead.
In college that year we had read a book called War and Peace (I read most of it anyway). I identified strongly with a character in the book who dreamed constantly of accomplishing great things””Prince Andrei Bolkonsky, if memory serves me correctly. I actually stayed awake most of the time in that class because I was interested in this character and others. Life doesn’t always lead us in the directions we thought, and following God’s will sometimes challenges us to choose ways that don’t seem too glorious.
The call to be a pastor came and I gave him the journalism career I had planned. Later I gave Him my dream to build a big church in Texas in order to pioneer churches in Luxembourg. Luxembourg is a bit off the map and if you do something great there, even your mother doesn’t know it unless you tell her. The Lord didn’t lead me into spotlight places and the older I get the more comfortable I am with that. My observation is there is a price to pay for those places and I’m not always sure it’s worth it. And honestly, I imagine I missed great things at times because my faith wasn’t big enough or I wasn’t disciplined enough to seize the opportunity. But all in all, I’m not disappointed with the 58-year old version of the product. I’m sure lots of people are jealous of my above-average-in-every way grandkids.
God has allowed us to touch lives and I’m passionate about what I do for Him. The temptation now is to quit dreaming, quit plotting, quit working to accomplish the fullness of what He has called me to do and just be happy with the way things are. If that happens, it won’t just be the 21-year old version of me who would be disappointed. But you know what? I knew that young man very well and if you want my opinion of him””well, there were a lot of areas where that guy disappointed me! Though he was a good letter writer … “I know what I’m doing. I have it all planned out””plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for.” (Jeremiah 29:11, The Message)