Then God said, “Let lights appear in the sky to separate the day from the night. Let them be signs to mark the seasons, days, and years.” — Genesis 1:14
I started writing WMDs in 2009. This means that I began this ministry at the end of the 2000s. I have been writing for all of the 2010s . . . a full decade. My kids at the start of this past decade were 1 and 3 years old. They are now 11 and 13. A lot happens in a decade. Lord willing, I will actually retire in this upcoming decade. I probably won’t, but I actually could. That is crazy to me. I just wanted to reflect a bit on this past decade.
One thing I do know is that I have drawn so much closer to The Lord over the last 10 years. A really strange paradox about God is that the more you know Him, the more you realize you don’t really know Him. He is so vast. I feel like a drop of water in all of the oceans and lakes combined compared to Him. Yet, He cares about me. He loves me. He walks with me when I take my prayer walks. He talks with me when I kneel down to pray. When I go days without doing these things and go back to them, I just think, “Why in the world would I ever skip this?” He prompts me to do right. He gently lets me know when I’ve done wrong. He has never let sin overtake me. He convicts me so gently and asks me to just hand it all over to Him. His love for me is absolutely immeasurable! Oh, how I want to love Him back!
For six years of this past decade, He allowed me to pastor a church. How crazy is that? The entire time, I’ve never felt more unworthy to do something in my life. How does a math teacher from the alternative school get a chance to do something like that? I am incredibly grateful for that time. I got to know some incredible people. I grew so much. I got in the habit of studying and praying consistently. Before, I might would take weeks off. As a pastor, Sunday was coming so quickly. I didn’t have time to be mad at God, mad at the world, or mad at people . . . Sunday was coming. I had to be clean. I had to be prepared. I loved it! I loved my spot at the altar on the left side of the church where I’d go right before I preached. I’d plead with God to remove anything that didn’t need to be in my heart, mind, and life. I’d ask to be filled up with the Spirit. I’d forgive if I needed to forgive. I’d make right if I needed to make right. The last thing I wanted was to be some tainted vessel up there speaking for the God I love. I loved preparing messages at the church. I had another favorite spot at the altar where I would ask Him to tell me what to say. Not one time did He ever deny me. He is amazing! He is God! He can do whatever He wants, yet He chooses to care about me? On my last Sunday there, I sat at my favorite spot and sang “I Give Myself Away” by William McDowell. I still think about it because it was so powerful. So many gathered around me and Tonya as we tearfully said goodbye. It was a fitting close to a pretty killer six years.
A whole decade is behind us. What are you going to do with the 2020s? My kids will be 21 and 23 at the end of this decade! I will be 54 years old. I think of that Tracy Lawrence song, “Time Marches On,” because man, it does. I think of Bob Seger, “20 years, where’d they go?” The truth is . . . all of this is so temporary. At the end of it all there will only be one thing that matters: What did I do with Jesus? Did I get to know Him? Did I love Him? Did I fractionally grasp just how much He loves me?
Lord, You are amazing! This is life like no other . . . this is the Great Adventure! I can’t imagine what I’d be doing if I had chosen to hang on to my life as a 16-year old kid and not give it to You. I’d be so boring. You have led me to a beautiful, wonderful wife. You have given me two children that I love and adore. I do ask for Your help in this decade. They will be leaving our nest near the end of it. I’ve only asked one thing, Lord: that they really know You. That they really have the Holy Spirit living inside them and that they impact souls for You. I pray that many souls enter the kingdom of Heaven simply because they exist and they know You. I pray for my marriage. I pray that Tonya and I will get closer and closer every year. I pray that I continue to love her more and more. I would have never thought that loving her like I love her now was possible. I pray for my future ministry. I don’t care if I’m in the public’s eye or in the wilderness by myself, Lord. As long as You are there, what else do I need? You are the God of it all! One more thing: Will you bless like crazy every person who reads this today? Will you allow the Holy Spirit to just jump off the screen and breathe fresh life into the readers? Bless them, Lord. Continue to give me just the right words at just the right time to help as many as possible through this little devotional ministry. Continue to allow me to pray with people who were touched right in the middle of Ingles, Wal-Mart, or even in front of the post office. Make this the decade of the third Great Awakening! There is and never will be anyone like our God! I love You, Lord. Thank You for giving me another set of 10 years.
Many things about tomorrow
I don’t seem to understand
But I know who holds tomorrow
And I know who holds my hand