“Truly, truly, I say to you, when you were young, you used to dress yourself and walk wherever you wanted, but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will dress you and carry you where you do not want to go.” (This he said to show by what kind of death he was to glorify God.) And after saying this he said to him, “Follow me.”” (John 21:18–19 ESV)
I turned 64 today and had planned on writing a little homily on what I’ve learned over these years.
I was thinking it would be full of homespun wisdom and gentle humor as befits a man my age.
Unfortunately, that sort of writing lends itself to better scribes than myself and I’m not feeling either wise or humorous this morning.
In truth , I’ve really only learned a few things for sure.
The first thing I’ve learned is how much more there is to learn, or less politely, how much I don’t know.
This should produce more humility in me than it does, but I’m not dead yet.
I’d update you on my progress toward greater humility, but that would prove I hadn’t made any…
The second thing I’ve learned is that life rarely turns out as you expected or hoped.
Jesus warned Peter about this, but I somehow thought it was just between the two of them.
At this late date in life I’ve been given more responsibilities for others than I can handle, with fewer resources than ever.
Instead of finishing up my bucket list, I’m a caregiver with a very small world.
I’ve emptied the bucket to carry more precious things than it previously contained…but not without a measure of grief.
The third thing I’ve learned is not to compare the life you’ve been given with what someone else has been given.
I’m not sure whether Peter wanted the life he thought John would have, or if he wanted to make sure that John suffered as much as he did.
I swing between those poles at times myself and it only depreciates what my own calling is.
The fourth thing I’ve learned is that I am where I am because I followed Jesus here.
My situation is not an accident of circumstances…it is a point in the path where He’s led me.
I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be, doing exactly what I’m supposed to do.
If I were anywhere else, it would be without Him.
That would give me a full bucket, but an empty life.
My own hopes and dreams have gone unfulfilled, but God’s purpose for me is right on track.
I’m working on being happy about that…
The last thing I’ve learned is…He is good…even when the bucket is empty…
He fills your soul instead.
Make your own application…
I think it was Aslan who said “we don’t know the things that might’ve been, we only know the things that are.” Being content with the things that are is a gift.
Happy Birthday, Michael… Ad Multos Annos
Thank you, Duane.
I’ll need that quote for next week… 🙂
Birthday Greetings Michael
I’ll always appreciate you for courage – love of truth – endurance in pressure – fidelity to those you love – and, well… wrath like the Lamb – from which we hide but thankfully it flashes sparingly.
I honor you and thank God for you.
Many thanks…your words have weight I am unfit to carry, but I will receive them gladly…
¡Feliz cumpleaños, Miguel!
I appreciate PP. You say, and continue to say, all that I have wanted to for a long time. Thank you for your courage and love for Jesus and His cause.
I’ll turn 65 in September. What I am realizing more and more everyday is that though life turned out a bit different than I thought it would (I think it’s that way for all of us), I wouldn’t trade a day of what God has given and me. I have much joy that I know I never would have found on my own.
Happy birthday Michael. I truly appreciate your ministry and your friendship. You are one of the few people in whom I have seen the presence of God himself; not that you are God, but if He exists I have seen Him act through you, in relation not just to me but to others.
Thank you and amen…
Thank you my friend…part of this will always belong to you…
God bless you on your birthday, Michael. You are loved and appreciated by so many.
Thank you, Nonnie…so glad you’re still part of what we do…the good parts, anyway… 🙂
Also from Cecelia!
You been such a blessing in our lives!
Stay strong and keep running the race!
Happy Birthday, dear Michael! Turned 69 last month & relate so much to what you wrote! I only follow two blogs these days. As long as you keep writing, I’ll keep reading! Always find something that encourages or gives me a good ponder. Thank you for all the many ways my life has been enriched over the years by your thoughts!
Always good to see you , my friend.
Thank you for the kind words and all the years…
Thank you, Elena…always brings me joy to see you…thank Cecelia as well…
Happy, Healthy and Joyous Birthday to you my long time friend..
Of course, you’ll have to sing the Beatles song, “When I’m 64″….
I am learning those same lessons, and it’s an endless journey..(I’m 71). but as you said, God is good and God is faithful..and we are where we are because we have sought Him and His path…. even tho it looks nothing like we ever dreamed. We each have our own version of Pilgrim’s Progress.
Love, hugs and blessings to you, my friend.
Thank you, Paige…and it is a version of Pilgrims Progress…
Love, hugs and blessings to you as well my friend…always glad to hear from you.
Happy Birthday Michael!
Thank you, Dan!
Happy belated birthday Michael!
Reminded me of something I read from Andrew Murray-
In time of trouble, say, First, He brought me here. It is by His will I am in this strait place; in that I will rest. Next, He will keep me here in his love, and give me grace in this trial to behave as his child. Then say, He will make the trial a blessing, teaching me lessons he intends me to learn, and working in me the grace he means to bestow. And last, say, In his good time he can bring me out again. How and when, he knows. Therefore, say, I am here (1) by God’s appointment, (2) in His keeping, (3) under His training, (4) for His time. -Andrew Murray
The great thing in prayer is to feel that we are putting our supplications into the bosom of omnipotent love.
God bless you!
Thanks for the kind words…blessings to you as well…
Happy birthday and many more!
Michael: “ I’d update you on my progress toward greater humility, but that would prove I hadn’t made any…”
Reminds of this take on the old song: “If you’re humble and you know it, no you’re not!”
And Happy Belated Burthday, Michael!!
Happy birthday Michael! 😃
Happy birthday, Michael. Thankful for you.
Paige and Anne on the same thread! Good to read you both!
Michael, my apologies for this belated Birthday wish, I just don’t get to be here nearly as often as I would like.
I keep reading here because I feel a deep appreciation for your voice crying in the wilderness. I know I’ve said this to you before, but the truth is always spoken here, and I thank you for your faithfulness in that endeavor.
May He continue to give you the strength you need for each day.