A person who lives for 87 years ought to learn a few things that he can affirm are trustworthy truths about life. I’m that 87-year-old fellow!
Here’s one of the most important truths that I’ve learned about life, and I endeavor to live by it. The truths of the Bible are the single most reliable principles of life. I’ve lived by them for scores of years and tested them out repeatedly. I’ve found that they have directed me to an unbeatable way of living. I could not have experienced a better, more fulfilling and rewarding life by any other philosophy, guru, religion, etc.
I have had ample time to observe the lives that others espouse, are attracted to, or are seduced by. Many of them make exciting promises, but they not only fail to deliver, but often lead to tragic consequences and frequently destroy homes, careers, and personal peace and fulfillment. One has only to watch TV commercials and see the promises that are made with glamor and convincing language. Just the other day the networks began to blitz us with the promises of winning big by betting on sports events. What is the next promise!
The Lord found me when I was an immature, insecure, lonely twelve-year-old boy. My Sunday school teacher, Mr. Rice, told me of God’s eternal love, and an eternal future. He explained how I could invite Jesus Christ to live in me and be my Savior. By his amazing grace I entered into that relationship. Bit by bit I began to read the Bible. Yes, the King James Version with all its thees, thous, thines, etc. But more importantly I began to discover passages that began to give this poorly informed kid new direction for his life. One of the first verses that I memorized was Proverbs 3, verses 5 and 6. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.” Initially I wondered why I shouldn’t rely on my own understanding, but over time I found what I thought was the correct way turned out to be a dead end — or worse! But the direction that the Lord gave me through his word repeatedly proved reliable counsel. I began to get a dependable foundation by which to direct my life.
I also observed others who choose a different direction which to them seemed attractive and promising. But over time they admitted that it wasn’t what they hoped for and realized that it was a poor choice. Some of them were Christians who got sidetracked and settled for a mediocre life. They still attend church and practice a moral lifestyle, but the impact of their lives is shallow by their own testimony.
I have a 97 year old neighbor whom I know very well. He was a Marine in WW2 and participated in the violent battles in the Pacific Islands. Upon discharge he attended universities and earned a Ph.D. in psychology. He taught in a university. He was extremely athletic and has all kinds of trophies. He boasts about training with Mr. Universe. His credentials are impressive. But he has never opened his mind and heart to God’s eternal truth. When I attempt to have a conversation with him about spiritual matters he shuts down. He believes the Bible is a bunch of fables that hold no relevance to life. But at 97 his mental and athletic prowess is gone and he is lonely. crotchety, and empty of hope, joy and love. He admits that his life is without purpose.
I’m not sure how well I’d do in an intellectual debate with a skeptic. But I’ve experienced the truth of the Word of God and am 100 percent convinced that no one offers what our Lord offers. No one is more loving, more gracious, more generous, more comforting and more promising than my eternal Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Many of you who will read these reflections are busy about living life. You face challenges, hopes, and trials. I can’t help but wonder if perhaps you’ve lost perspective about what really matters. Perhaps you’re focusing your energy and dreams on those things that can’t deliver what you are seeking. I can promise you that the person who invites the Lord to be the center of his life will never get second best. I affirm to you that he is the best of everything and when he is the center of our lives, he fills us with an inner joy and peace that is unbeatable.
A while back I made a long list of things for which I’m thankful. When I reviewed the list about all of it was because of the provision, guidance and generosity of my Lord. Even sharing my thoughts with you reminds me again how grateful I am that a loving Father put his arms around this backward, lovely, confused kid and became the wise, patient, gracious, faithful, redeeming Father I so desperately needed.