Joel Osteen has had a book out for a couple of years now titled ‘Your best life now’. I bought it yes, but much as I love to read and much as I love Joel Osteen, I somehow haven’t gotten round to reading it and it is one of the very few ‘adornments’ (books bought but not yet read) on my bookshelf. For some reason, I found myself thinking about this book earlier this evening. I can see it clearly as it has been shelved for the past one year. I can clearly recall the colour and cover design. Joel is pictured on the page, with his usual engaging smile. I wonder to myself why it is that I am suddenly thinking so hard about this book. I make a mental note to actually take it off that shelf and read it through this weekend. That done I mentally try to shift gear and move my thoughts to reflections about my day. The book title continues to strike me though and as I think on it, I am moved to share a few thoughts with you.
Over the past year or so, just before turning out the lights every night, the thought comes to my mind that I have no guarantee that I will wake up the next morning. It’s just not given to me and Bible is very clear about this. I have found myself going to bed with a prayer on my lips that the Lord should keep me safe through the night, not allow me sleep the sleep of death (not yet please Lord!) and that He should wake me up the next morning in good health. I am reminded each night that I am not in control; that my life and times are in His hands. I am reminded of my daily weaknesses and failings and of the fact that my strength is in Him alone; that I stand only in His righteousness and His grace. I am reminded that my rising on the right side of eternity is only assured in Him and in the salvation that He has allowed me by His grace and mercy. Yes sis I am reminded each night that I am a work of grace, and that only grace will carry me safely into the morning and all through the next day, unto the very end of my years.
Morbid thinking? I would once have thought so, yes. Now however, my sense is that this state of mind is an indication that I have actually grown spiritually to a point where, in so many hitherto ignored or unappreciated facets of my life, I am now walking in a deliberate consciousness of God’s supremacy. So when I awake each morning, my first words are along the lines of ‘Lord, I just bless You for this day; for the breath of life; for my being counted among the living. Lord, I bless You for health, for family; for love; for peace. Lord I bless You for counting me worthy. I give You this day and ask You to help me be the best I can be today, to the glory of Your name, Amen’. Yes sis, I feel truly blessed to be at a place where my heavenly Father is my first waking thought and my last conscious thought. I feel blessed to be in a place where I am constantly trying to live guided by Him and to walk the walk I believe He has set for me. Do I always get it right? Am I always steadfast on this path? Surely not! But, as I say in the times of my failing ‘Lord, even this weakness You will surely use. Lord, I don’t know how You will do it; but I choose to stay in the place of trust that in the end, this my life must be used for Your glory’. This is definitely a better place to be than in the place of constant guilt and condemnation… of this I know for sure.
There has been some more death around me since the last plane crash in my country and my ‘Heaven Minded’ post on this blog. The closest of these was the death of the wife of one of my staff. I couldn’t help but think how ironic it was that he and I had discussed the trauma that the families of those who died in the crash were going through just a few days earlier. What did he know that death was coming calling at his doorstep a few days later? In a flash it seemed, we gathered for the funeral service. I found myself seated with members of my staff, right by the grave. I watched as the grave diggers began the arduous task of back-filling once the casket had been lowered. I watched their first son stand stoically by the graveside watching this exercise. I could only but imagine the depth of emotions going through him, and the intensity of thought in his mind. His mother had died so suddenly, there was barely enough time for him to process her sudden illness and then she was no more. Yes, that next breath….the one that was not promised to her… it didn’t come!
I wondered how many of her dreams she was able to see through. I wondered how many things she had planned to do the next day, the next week? You know don’t you, the usual sort of questions we ask ourselves at such times right? I had asked them all then and as I reflected on the title ‘Your best life now’, I asked them all over again…. only this time I asked them of myself.
Sis, you and I don’t have time to do anything less than live our very best lives right now. We do not have the luxury of time. We cannot afford to allow our gifts, talents and abilities to lie fallow. We cannot afford not to make an impact on our world. We cannot afford to put our relationship with God and our growth in Him off till tomorrow. We cannot afford to be better wives only when our children leave home. We cannot afford to not see more of the world because we are afraid to fly. We cannot afford not to launch out into business and pursue our passions because we are afraid to fail. We cannot afford to shy away from that promotion because we are scared to we really don’t have what it takes. We cannot afford not to give our all in our relationships because we are afraid to get hurt. We cannot afford to wait till our health begins to fail to take greater control over our eating, exercising and general lifestyle. We cannot afford to allow the wheels of time steel our destiny and potential. We cannot sis! We must not!
We serve a great God. We serve a God Who is too awesome for us to figure. We can never truly fathom the greatness of Him, but we need to be eternally grateful that we are in the place of knowing Him. His Word is that we can do all things through Him. His word is that His plans for us are good. His word is that eyes have not seen, ears have not heard, and neither has it come into the heart of man the things which He has prepared for those of us that love Him. His word is that we will be filled with power from on high, and that we shall indeed do valiantly and do great exploits. His word is that He has given us dominion over the earth. His word is that we should prosper, be in health, flourish, multiply, be a blessing unto generations, etc. Effectively, He has fashioned us and He has equipped us for a great life and we need to walk in it.
He it is that has said He will uphold us by His right hand of righteousness and He will help us. We don’t need to do this alone sis. You and I cannot afford to deprive the world of the value that we are designed to deliver. We do not need to live a sub-optimal life where our fears, concerns, insecurities, complexes, and failings – real or imagined, hold us back from being the best we can be. What we need to do is to stay plugged into the source and just trust Him absolutely, yielding fully to His guidance, and resting in His power.
In that place of total submission and confidence in the Lord, you and I will be empowered to be the best we can be…. to live our best lives right now!
The Lord will help you sis; He will help me.
Be blessed sis….. for you surely are