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Age to age

Friday, March 30, 2007

John 10:40-42
Jesus went back across the Jordan to the place where John had been baptizing in the early days. Here he stayed and many people came to him. ... And in that place many believed in Jesus.

Those were the days my friend
We thought they'd never end
We'd sing and dance forever and a day
We'd live the life we choose
We'd fight and never lose
For we were young and sure to have our way.

Then the busy years went rushing by us
We lost our starry notions on the way ...

Twenty-five, and getting older. Turning forty, older still. Fifty-seven, what a geezer ... eighty-four and kind of lonely, looking up toward heaven day by day.

Jesus' disciples remember the early days. That was when they had Jesus to themselves. So much has changed. So many people. Jesus surprises them every day. Strangers are healed at his touch, his words persuade many and even silence his accusers. It doesn't seem to matter what happens - Jesus always makes the day bigger, the sun brighter, their lives fuller. They are living on the mountaintop.

Ten chapters later Jesus is dead. "The disciples were together with the doors locked for fear of the Jews" (John 20:19). The early days are a faint memory; these awful days are dark and cold and full of fear.

These are the days of Lent, and they are fast coming to conclusion. I know Jesus is going to die. He will leave me alone and feeling lost. The mountaintop is nothing but a distant cloudy peak, forbidding and stark, impossible to reach again alone.

In the glass I saw a strange reflection
Was that lonely man really me ...

Now ... what? I am assured by ancient testimony that God changes me, makes me more and not less, never less. He takes my lifetime and makes me who He made me to be. He always accomplishes what he sets out to do. The seeds He has planted within my deepest place are growing.

Oh my friend we're older but no wiser
For in our hearts the dreams are still the same

Maybe I'm a little wiser. My goals are changing. The taste I've had of surrender and its satisfaction leaves me wanting more. Submitting to the Source of my strength and my life marks success better than any book I'll write or experience I'll have.

Like the disciples, who went on to wonderful days of preaching and miracles of their own, I am known and loved by God. The wistfulness and regrets I sometimes feel for bygone days and lost opportunities don't change that. And they don't need to take me out of what God's got in mind for today.

Shape my memories and my hopes into moments when I know you and follow you now, Lord.

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