This morning at the gym I had a glimpse of myself at 80-90 years old. I’m not really sure how I knew the age, but that was what came to mind. I was doing the same thing I was this morning; at the gym walking to a different machine, but my hair was cropped short and white, I had on a white t-shirt (something not that stylish) and the wrinkles on my aged skin were evident. I looked more like my dad’s mother than my mom’s. I was focused, going about my usual routine and just like that it was gone.
I’ve thought about that glimpse-of-a-vision all morning. That person is 50-60 years away from me, but I can see her. I’ve prayed for years that God would help me go the distance with Him. That I would be running after Him harder in the days to come than in my youth. Not just a short spurt of greatness or excitement in the now, but a lifetime of endurance. Riding the waves that life brings and leaning into all of the lows as much as the highs. I can look back over the last 32 years and see clearly that He’s carried me to this point. Through losses, through hard ache, through difficult battles, through the mundane and what can seem monotonous, but also through extreme joy and rich victory. The vision this morning was a reminder of doing the small things. The consistent things that bring life and health. The choices I’m choosing today will effect my life 50-60 years from now. The seemingly small thoughts and small disciplines will determine my pace and endurance much farther beyond what I can see.
I think of James 1 a lot. ” Let patience (in other translations “endurance”) have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete lacking nothing.” But first he says count all trials as joy, because their testing produces this patience/endurance.
It seems an audacious scripture that testing would bring about, ultimately, our lack of nothing. Or is it our choosing to rejoice in those trials that shifts our perspective into alignment with God’s; to see from His perspective, how He might, maybe, possibly be working this trial for our good. Answering some other prayer we’ve prayed with a different route than we would have chosen. Is it this same shift that allows Gods grace to flow so easily into our mind and life that we can follow where He leads no matter the level of ease or difficulty? Is it this same shift in choosing to rejoice and trust that brings us into a lifestyle of patient endurance?
If I think about it long enough my prayer to go the distance with God-to know, believe, love and trust Him more every day until I meet Him-is asking for him to produce patience/endurance in my life. It’s asking for the trials that would produce it. It’s asking for the ability to choose rejoicing in those trials. It’s asking to see from His perspective.
One of the biggest lies that I believe satan bombards us with when we’re younger is that if you haven’t done whatever God’s put in your heart by the ripe old age of 18, then you’ve missed God. You’ve missed the mark. You’ve missed being of value in the Kingdom. You’ve just missed it and will never matter much at all. There are so many levels of lies built into this one thought. Value, identity, uniqueness, calling, etc. But I love how all throughout the Bible God uses people at all ages. Jesus calls these young band of brothers called disciples to walk with Him and set up the foundation of His church. But if you look back a little farther, God was calling men out of their latter years and well worn with age. He called Noah to rescue a remnant. He called Abraham to be the father of an entire nation. He called Moses to rescue an entire nation. And on and on and on.
God is no respecter of age. He holds time in His hands and it’s His perfect work of patient endurance-of choosing to lean into Him in the trials, of choosing to rejoice in the struggle, choosing to shift our perspective to His-that will give us the grace to go the distance with Him.