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20 Years With the Lord

February 11, 2007

As it was my 39th birthday yesterday, this seems as good a time as any to observe that I have been a Christian now for 20 years. It also incidentally means that I have been playing guitar for the same amount of time.

In both cases I often think: I should be better at this.

And I should.

That said, it’s been an amazing journey; absolutely breathtaking in scope (to me at least) and staggering (to me at least) in terms of the human drama I have been through in those 20 years. I hope to spend this Lent looking back on some of those events in depth on this blog. It’s probably a testament to where I am today though that the prospect of that exercise fills me with dread. I’m tired of looking back. I want to look forward.

I’ve been an introspective personality type all of my life, perhaps obsessively so, and it’s been a constant challenge for me to shut off the dark thoughts and act: it’s so easy to think of all the reasons you might fail, and so hard to think of reasons you might succeed. I often joked when people would go up at Church and give these dramatic testimonies that if I went up, I’d say something like "I got out of bed and came here today". <cricket sound> But that’s my life. More process than event driven, and quite ordinary to the untrained eye. To me though, it’s been more thrilling and full of high-stakes moments than I could have ever imagined.

So I show up. That’s my thing. I still believe, even though all my friends thought my conversion had more to do with my father coming out of the closet than a genuine encounter with the Living God. 20 years later, my faith is strong, even though I think I’ve had reason to reject the whole thing as a bunch of psycho-social bunk. I don’t take the credit though. I just don’t know where else to go. The love that will not let me go, etc.

God keeps showing up too. Every time I think all is hopeless, that last bit of hope or peace is given to me, or events transpire in a much more positive way than I could have hoped and I come out stronger; that is, more hopeful, more thankful, more assured of God’s care for me. I still have questions, hurts and doubts- especially regarding the ugly implosion of the First Presbyterian Church of Hollywood, the rejection of my ministry there which I thought would be my life’s work. As it turned out, it was only the work of my 20’s and 30’s- important years I will never get back and will never see the fruits of. It grieves me still to think of it, and I do not see the prospect of something soon replacing the life I experienced there. Perhaps that is the point, and I am slow coming to it. It wouldn’t be the first time.

So what is my wisdom to dispense here in my middle age? Trust God. Listen. Act. Repeat as needed. Results may vary. Most of all though, don’t give up hope. Hope in God is everything. As I wrote many years ago:

He is My Best Hope

This is the day the Lord has made
I will rejoice and be glad
For He is my hope and righteousness
I will rejoice and be glad

I will raise my hands
And I will shout for joy
For He is my best hope
Yes He is my best hope in this world

I will rejoice in His great love
For He knows the anguish of my soul
Redeem me O Lord, the God of Truth
Save me and help me overcome
And when I feel abandoned
I call out unto you
For you are my companion
Whatever I go through
For you make all things new

Every new day His mercy shines
There is no one beyond His care
He can restore the darkest soul
He can renew the faintest hope

Based on much of my writing here it may seem like I trust in military power, George Bush or the Republican Party or some such nonsense. For the record, I want to assert that I do not put my trust in any of those things. I do not draw back from associating myself with those things, to a point, but that is a different matter.

I’m no expert. In many ways I’m just noodling around with some themes I began to learn 20 years ago. But those themes have turned out to be more durable, more adaptable, yet timeless and life-giving than I ever thought. Maybe be in 20 years I’ll think "hey I’m getting pretty good". One thing’s for sure though: I’m no newbie.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. More Sushi permalink
    February 12, 2007 7:39 am

    Happy Birthday.

  2. Tim C. permalink
    February 12, 2007 12:13 pm

    Happy Birthday Too Count:

    More lyrics for you, these from Tod Snider:

    “Old timer, Old timer
    It’s too late to die young now
    Old timer, five and dimer
    Trying to find a way to age like wine somehow…”

    You seem to have found a way…I really liked the writing on this post…

    Have a great b-day, and look for some iTunes music via another email…


  3. Kathleen permalink
    February 12, 2007 6:11 pm

    Happy Birthday. Not bad personal musings from a guy living in LA.

    Keep on.

  4. Rob A. permalink
    February 15, 2007 4:42 pm

    Happy belated b-day, Davie.


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