I am very near fifty now. And in quiet moments of reflection it becomes clear what I am risking. The highest benefits of believing in Jesus are not yet realized. Although it is promised that some will be alive when Christ returns to make good, it is clear that our rewards are not in this life. The older I get the more I understand then, what it means for me to trust Him. My youth is gone, and if we are wrong about Jesus, then I will have wasted my life. The only life I will have. I will have missed my chance to eat, drink, and be merry. I will have spent much of life needlessly fighting the ever-present desire to please myself. Choosing again and again to not seek what I want, but what I believe God desires for me. Never to live my life for myself.
Just to be clear, I’ve sought and caught enough things that I’ve wanted. My conscience has not always prevailed. I’ve silenced it many times, but it has not failed me. I have not seared it completely. I am always called back to the path. We are called to sacrifice our lives, much as Jesus did, in hopes that He will give us another, better life in the age to come. We are called to reserve our highest affections for the better world, and to feel and live as purposeful pilgrims here. And everyday I get closer to the bucket yet farther from it’s list.
No, this is not a crisis of faith, although it used to feel that way. This is a recognition of the presence of faith. It is in these lucid moments that I am finally able to understand what it means to have faith in Jesus; to give my life to Christ. Knowing what I’m losing hasn’t dimmed my hope for what is to come. It simply makes more evident that for my life to have been worth living, Jesus will have to be who He said He was and do what He said He would do. My life depends on Him being faithful. What a great thing the Father has done. I have grown older and found that, indeed, my life is in Jesus’ hand.