Today is the day. Again. January 28th, my birthday. I was serenaded by my two girls this morning with the whole song, including the “you like a monkey, and you smell like one too!” with the trilling high notes at the end. It was beautiful. In fact, it will be my actual birthday in about 20 minutes. I’ve been told I entered this world at 9:50 am on that cold January day in a tiny hospital in Virginia.
I’m really enjoying the day so far, too. Honestly, I am. I was sure coming into it this year how I would feel. They’re beginning to pile up on me at this point. I realize I’m not “old” per say, but they are starting to add up. People are beginning to point out that 40 is just around the bend. But today, I’m enjoying it.
In one of my devotionals I read, it was talking about Isaiah 40:31. “Those who wait on the Lord will mount up with wings like eagles. They shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.” It’s a good verse for today, that’s for sure. It also referenced Psalm 103:5; “who (God) satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagles.”
You see, I wonder, sometimes more often than others, if I will ever get too old for what I do? Not in the sense of “I hate overnighters and lock ins” too old. I passed that mark 10 years ago. But too old in the idea that the students will be more embarrassed by me, and feel alienated by me. It’s not so much a pity party as a desire to serve them the best I can. I’ve seen a couple of other guys hang on too long, and hurt their ministries. I simply don’t want to be one of them.
But, I want to follow God closely and rely on Him all the time in what I do. I want to take the years of mistakes and help students and leaders succeed. I want to encourage and love kids to let them see Christ more clearly. So, my fears drive me one way, and my hopes tug the other.
That’s why reading a verse about those who are watching for God be renewed, I get excited. If God can use me to reach students and families, then it’s a miracle. I’ve never been cool one day of my life, and each year drives that point further home. So for God to use me has to be all Him. Exactly as it should be.
So, as I sit and look and smell like a monkey on this day, I am thankful that God never gives up on me. The bigger the challenge, the more glory He gets. I am grateful that He has the power to renew me, to make me fresh and new each day. I need it. I am so happy that my fears aren’t what determine what I need to do, but that His love and grace are the drivers behind this world. Those are some beautiful gifts.