This past week I 'celebrated' my 37th birthday. I use the term 'celebrated' loosely as it wasn't one that I will look back on fondly and think to myself as a highlight. In fact, it was one of the harder birthdays to understand.
When I was growing up I had visions of where I would be in my life at this point. I could picture a wife, kids, house, cars, dog (no cats as they are the other white meat) and the list goes on. I also had dreams of where my career would be. Truth be told, nothing is really where I thought it would be.
In the book of Genesis, Abram was also a man who did some reflecting on where he thought his life should be. He was advanced in his age (He was old for those of us that want to be less politically correct) and he wanted to have an heir to his household. He wanted a son to call his own. God had promised to Abram that He would be Abram's "great reward".(Gen 15:1). But Abram didn't see the point of a great reward when he had no child to leave this reward as an inheritance. A servant in his household would be the heir of this reward from God.
As I reflected back on this week, in essence, I was asking God, what's the point? Why did you take me through this life just to be where I am? In a way, I felt like God had abandoned me. But the truth of it all, is that without God in my situation, I wouldn't be where I am at today. It might not be where I thought I was going, and it might not have been how I had pictured things being but the truth of the matter is that I am a lot better off than I would be if I was left to do this life on my own. What was the real wake up call? Well ... the birthday morning started off with a bad attitude but finished off with the realization that I am loved by a God that knows the plan that HE has for me. There were some phrases thrown around that day, but one that stood out to me was this: "So I stand back in awe of what [God] has done in your life and what He is going to do."
If someone else is in awe of God because of the way that He has worked in my life, then everything that I have gone through is all worth it. If someone else could see that God was going to work in my life and take me somewhere, then I want to believe that God will do it. Back to Abram for a second. I think the key to the rewards that God had promised Abram is this. "Abram believed the LORD, and He credited to him as righteousness"(Gen 15:6). Abram had the choice to believe or not believe that God would do what he said He would do. I have that same choice. I can believe or I can choose not to believe that God is with me in this walk of life. Because of this, I have chosen to believe "that God, who began the good work within [me], will continue His work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns"(Phil 1:6). God is not finished with me yet. He has a plan for my life and I am going to follow in that plan.
Sure, 37 is not how I had pictured it would be, but God is making it in to something better than I could have ever imagined. He is not going to bring me this far just to quit on me. He has begun the work, and I am going to continue to walk with Him through this until the time when He completes it.
One last thought ... to everyone who wished me a happy birthday, thank you from the bottom of my heart. With each well wished gesture, my spirit was lifted and I was reminded of how blessed I am to have the people that I do in my life. You all helped turn a day of sorrow into a day of celebration. Thank you.
*cues the music and dances away to "Celebrate good times, com'on!"*