I sat white knuckles on the steering wheel, staring at the bridge in front of me. I really wanted to go to Quincy, Illinois, but in order to do that I needed to face my fear and drive across that bridge. I could feel the anxiety rising up in me. I took a deep breath, focused my eyes on the center line and moved forward. I think I may have held that breath until I reached the other side safely. Crossing that bridge reminds me of the way I am taking steps to become a better person.
Life is hard. I don’t know anyone that has it all figured out, and I don’t think anyone else does. I make mistakes, bad things happen to me, but in spite of it all, I try to remember Romans 8:28. “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” So everything is for my good, that doesn’t mean that everything is good. The Bible is also clear that everything is for His glory. The Old Testament especially shows that everything is for God’s glory. So, as I process everything that is happening in my life right now, I must process everything through that lens. It is not easy. But, the way I figure it, if everything is for my good, then I am supposed to be learning something. If it is for His glory, then others need to see His work in my life. My purpose in life is to display His glory. My desire is to help others to see Him and strengthen their relationship with Him. I am going to dedicate one blog post a month (at least) to exploring what is going on in my life. I hope that at least one person can utilize the lessons that I have learned and continue to learn.
I thought about a couple of different things as I struggled to come to terms with everything going on in my life. I know all the “Sunday School” answers, and believe them in my heart. The thing though that I came to is the legend of the Phoenix. The story is that only one Phoenix existed at a time. It could live for anywhere from 500 to 12,994 years. At the end of it’s life, it builds a nest and sets it on fire. After three days, it rises out of those ashes. I see it as a picture of what Isaiah writes in Isaiah 61:3, “to give them a crown of beauty instead of ashes.”
I went to college at Hannibal-LaGrange [University]. On Thursday, June 22, 1989 there was a fire that destroyed the main building. After the fire, the arch was left in place, as the new administration building was built behind it. When they constructed the new building, they included Isaiah 61:3 on the front, as a reminder of the amazing things that God can do. God brings people out of the lowest of lows, out of the ashes, to become an amazing testament to His power and glory. I truly believe that people will look at everything that God has done in my life and will give Him all the glory.
I hope that this is going to be a beautiful picture of what God can do in a life that is surrendered to Him. It isn’t easy. I don’t want any of these to sound like it is. I am a mess. But I am going to let God turn that Mess into a Message, my Test into a Testimony, Trial into Triumph, and Victim into Victory. I will not be defined by the mistakes that I have made. I will not be defined by depression and anxiety. I will be defined by Whose I am. I am a child of God, the King of the Universe.