February 17 – Never Once

never-once

Your unfailing love, O Lord, is as vast as the heavens; your faithfulness reaches beyond the clouds.
Your righteousness is like the mighty mountains, your justice like the ocean depths.
You care for people and animals alike, O Lord. How precious is your unfailing love, O God!
All humanity finds shelter in the shadow of your wings.

Read: Leviticus 4:1-5:19, Mark 2:13-3:6, Psalm 36:1-12, Proverbs 10:1-2

Relate: Do you ever get those moments where you find yourself staring at a screen as thirty minutes go by and you are so completely somewhere else that you don’t even notice? That happened to me a couple days back. I was supposed to start teaching English to a new class of adults that evening. Normally, when I am beginning a new class with high level speakers I start out with a good hour or two of “would you rather” questions. You know, “Would you rather be rich and stupid or smart and poor? Why? Would you rather live a thousand years in the past or a thousand years into the future? Why?”

These type of questions are a great way to get the students to get into the habit of talking instead of just listening and taking notes and it also helps me determine the level of different students and the general character of the class. Problem was, I lost the list I normally use and so I found myself on the internet digging up new ones. In front of me, I saw the question, “Would you rather keep on going with the life you are living or go back to the moment of birth and start over?” Suddenly, my ADD kicked in. I started wondering to myself, “Am I content with the life I have lived?”

Am I doing anything with my life? Has it been worth it? My mind started playing back over some of the highlights and I surprised myself by realizing that I have actually lived a pretty full life. I’ve climbed the highest peaks in NY and also walked through a mountain range in Turkey. I’ve nearly died climbing halfway up a 325 foot cliff, by getting T-Boned by a car going 35 mph when the point of impact was my door, and by wandering right into a running battle between terrorists and police. Within a 24 hour period I also interviewed individuals on both sides of that same conflict (not at the same time). I was a few miles from the epicenter of a coup. I have visited some of the most beautiful buildings and tombs in the world and have also taken a selfie in the church that Santa Claus planted. Yes, Jolly old St Nick was a church planter. All the coolest people in the world are. In one week have eaten at the five highest rated restaurants in a city renowned world over for its cuisine and have also gone on a six day fast because my cupboards were bare and I had no more money with which to restock. On any given week I am having face to face conversations with people born on five different continents and on any given day I am writing things that will be read in somewhere between 25 and 75 different countries. It doesn’t seem like it sometimes when I get tied into the drudgery of a day to day life, but I have actually lived a pretty cool, full life. If I were to go to sleep tonight and never wake up it has been enough. Saying yes to Jesus has taken me places I would never have imagined possible.

React: It is easy to reflect these truths but it is hard to live in it. When I am five days into fasting and walking around town because I have no money and no food, I wasn’t thinking “This is going to be an awesome testimony.” I was simply thinking, “God… where are You!?!?” When I am walking up an alley and I start to see bullets flying around a couple dozen meters in front of me I wasn’t thinking, “This is going to be an awesome story.” Nope. It was more like “I’m going to back away slowly and quietly and… GOD HELP!!!” When my door gets knocked in by a drunk driver seventeen inches and when the car stops spinning around and I crawl out with only a few bruises all I was thinking, “Oh Jesus… Oh Jesus… Oh Jesus…”

When I have to wake up early tomorrow morning and go teach an overcrowded, underfunded, unofficial school for refugees that just got another seven students who have found their way out of Aleppo into Turkey I won’t be wondering, “Am I making a difference?” I will be simply saying, “Just one more hour of sleep. Please God, you did it for Joshua, keep that sun from rising. Please?” It is oh so hard in the moment to see the eternal impact of what we are doing. It is hard in the mess to see the miracle that God is about to bring. And I know that this isn’t just something for me. What has God been doing in Your life? I encourage you as this song plays through to reflect back on the times and ways God has proven Himself faithful in your life. Then play it again and join in singing thanks to our faithful, loving Father.

Respond:

Dear God,
Thank You. I don’t say that nearly often enough. Thank You for a love that is as vast as the heavens. Thank You for a faithfulness that stretches beyond the clouds. Thank You for Your righteousness as steady as the mountains and justice as deep as oceans. Thank You for caring and loving me through rich and poor. Thank You for protecting me through both external danger and my own stupidity. Most of all thank You for calling me out of the boat and then giving me the courage to take a step of obedience. It has been so much more than worth it.
Amen

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11 thoughts on “February 17 – Never Once

  1. Believe me, my friend, you are making a difference, and you will be rewarded in heaven when those souls you have touched come up to thank you. I will be one of them!

  2. Your post really makes one think about choices in life and contacts made. My life doesn’t seem as adventurous or perhaps it is simply a different kind of adventure. But none the less we may never know until we get to the other side, whose life we may have affected. I’m sure you’ve touched many in a powerful way.

  3. I love your transparency of your thoughts in-the-moment. So relatable! Our experiences in the messy moments don’t feel like grand testimonies, but God is present and molds them into something beautiful! What a good Father. It offers hope for future messy moments. Thank you for sharing!

  4. This is a great post, BJ. I’m glad to be back in the blogosphere just to have seen it. 🙂

    If you’d like to follow my new blog (The Pilgrimage), I’d be honored. Thanks, friend. I’m glad to still be in the loop.

  5. Thank you for sharing this post! God really does work in mysterious ways and it still amazes me how much of a mess we get ourselves into, He still makes sure we are safe and sound at the end of it all.

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