This is the day that the Lord has made...

This is the day that the Lord has made...

Monday, September 10, 2012

Character Building:101

Matthew 28:18-20 (NIV)
Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. [19] Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, [20] and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

I can still remember his last breath, watching his chest heave and then relax.  I can remember thinking for the previous 10, that was his last. But then, another breath would follow. And then they stopped.  The loss of my father was a game changer.

For the previous 37 years of my life, I would consider myself a winner.  I mean, I experienced defeat in sports and in relationships and some of the more trivial things in life.  But for the most part, I could pretty much consider my life a success.  So much so that, as I reflect, I really had no significant need for Christ in my life.  Sure, I was a Christian.  I went to church on Sunday.  I even prayed at meal time.  So far as depending on Christ, not so much.  I was pretty sure I could do anything I set my mind to and often believed I did have a cape to go with the attitude.  Until the passing of my father, I had never truly experienced a meaningful loss.

The game changed in relatively short period of time. One loss lead to another, that lead to another and another.  I can succinctly remember thinking to myself amidst the chaos and turmoil of my new life, "can't I just get a win here, Lord." It was during this time that I turned to Christ because I was all out of answers, energy and life.  I prayed to our Lord to save me; save me from myself, this world and all the pain I was suffering.  I knew that things would be better now with Christ in my life.  I knew Jesus would step in and pull me from the raging river of turmoil, loss and pain that I was stuck. Instead, he gave me a paddle, which looking back, was the greatest gift I've ever received.

I'd always read that character is built in times of struggle, turmoil and loss.  And to some extent, I would agree.  I believe, however, that while character is built  during hard times, it requires the love of Jesus to chisel and forge that new man or woman from the old.  While I know the earthly loss of my father was a blow, I also know that Jesus said He would be with us to the end of the age.  To me, this means that in the end, I will always be a winner because of Him.  I praise and thank God today for his unending, undying and unlimited love for me.

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