I normally don’t spend a lot of time in front of the mirror. Even when I do to shave or brush my teeth, I take little time out of my day to really look. But today was different. I paused and took a long, hard look because today, I am forty-two years old.
Forty-two years ago today, God chose to bring me into this world. He did so with a plan, a purpose for this boy born six weeks pre-maturely on October third in Covington, Ky. As I looked at the face staring back at me, sifting through the memories that accumulate, I realized God’s plan would have involved few of the things I had said or done in that time. Of course, you can argue the experience factor: all the things I have done have molded me, for better or worse, into the man I am today. And without the Holy Spirit to guide my conscience, I wouldn’t care about the manipulative or hurtful words spoken in anger or haste in the first half of my life. I could chalk my life up to…well…life, and go on with my day. But there is something more going on here. God knows all things, He is God. Yet He still brought me into this world knowing I would fail Him time and time again.
In fact, as I reflected, I realized that was the one thing I have done with spectacular success.
But God is also patient. From this day in 1970, He looked ahead 9 years to when I would accept Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior. He knew I would understand the basics of salvation, but it would not be enough to keep me from being overwhelmed by the “eye candy” of this world. He saw the day 24 years later when I would quietly and prayerfully give my life completely to Him. He knew the day would come when I said, “Whatever you want, wherever you want me, whenever you’re ready; I’m in.” I guess I needed the experiences, but only because I didn’t pay attention. You see, I was brought up in a good, loving Christian home. I was taken to church every week. I heard the Word of God; I heard the Gospel, but I didn’t listen too closely. He gave me every opportunity to be shielded from this world, but I sat oblivious to what was really being said and what was really at stake.
There is still too much of me in the mirror.
As I look at the man in the mirror, I see grace and love. Not mine, of course, but God’s. The world should look at me as I am now and see Jesus Christ…but they don’t. I know there is still too much of me in the mirror. But He isn’t done yet…not by a long-shot. The first half of my life I spent a lot of time and energy getting in the way. I wonder what I’ll see in another forty years as I spend all of my time and energy trying to stay out of His way?