Some things are so precious we need to find a safe place for them. And we need to be doubly careful we don’t forget where we hid the prized possession. So many times I’ve done that; I’ve lost what I desperately wanted to be able to find.
I feel sure this is a possession you may want; it’s a possession I value more than almost everything else. Beside God, my wife, my children and my family, this possession is about as valuable as they get.
Let me start with a story.
It involves an event that took place on October 4, 2003. About the worst day of my life, indeed it was a period of the worst days of my life. But this particular day an event occurred that saw my mental health spiral out of control.
I received news that, as a human being, you are never prepared to hear. When you hear that kind of news, there is a mixture of disbelief, numbness, anger, and emotional torment. What was already bad had become immensely worse. When the gravity of the situation hit me about 1 PM I began to react in ways that I could never have foreseen. The next few hours were perilous. The worst kind of thoughts were running through my mind. I was doing a lot of driving, yet I was hardly fit for it mentally. My mind was being bombarded and heart was being crushed. That night I didn’t sleep. I don’t think I slept next night either. That Sunday, October 5, was just abominable. Within days I was skating on thin ice mentally. And it all culminated in a massively acute mental breakdown on October 8. They were heady days, and October 9 and 10 were a cacophony of anxiety and hopelessness. This week that I depict here was unfathomably distressing, within a generally deep and distressed time.
As I look back, I know I didn’t have the vision to hope for what I have today, because all I wanted was what I had just lost. I didn’t recognize that I couldn’t have that back. But had I hoped to be revived again, I would have hoped to be in place where I am today.
As I look back I am fond of the fact that, through faith, and not giving up, that I have arrived here, today, 5479 days later, and an earlier version of me believed enough to keep going. And now the future version of me from that day 15 years ago now has so much to be thankful for. An event happened today that confirmed my empty heart’s longing those 5479 days ago; a sense of arrival, a kind of stake in the ground…
So, the possession is a gift from me to me, or from you to you.
When we sow our deeds of faith as obediently as we can, especially when there is no reward in the present, we pave the road in gold coloured bricks all the way to the future of version of us.
Each day is a brick. And as the days come and go the road is slowly but ever so surely paved. It reminds me of one of my favourite Bible verses that meant so much in those shocking days in 2003.
It says in Galatians 6:9 (NRSV):
“So let us not grow weary in doing what is right, for we will reap at harvest time, if we do not give up.”
For the future you, there is this gift that comes only by faith that steps as wisely and courageously as it can. The future you is a glorious and majestic reality. You will not fail to see the consummate blessing in it.
If you’re undergoing an utter estrangement from yourself that we call grief, do keep stepping wisely, faithfully, courageously, for a new and more splendid day is coming. God will help you create it.
As bad as things get, keep believing that good things are coming. They are!