When Satan tempts me to despair And tells me of the guilt within…
Sometimes my song ends right there. I just repeat that verse over and over again, over and over and over again.
I see my sin and am tempted to despair. I feel my failings. Yes I did mess up. Yes I did hurt. Yes I failed. Over and over again I remind myself of the guilt within, and when I forget, someone else picks up the line for me so I don’t forget. Failure! Guilty! No Good Enough!
I’m a month away from my 45th birthday, which seems impossible. Yet there it is. Since I’m throwing a party, I’ve been remembering my 40th birthday party five years ago. I brewed over 200 bottles of beer. We had cheese and cake. We sang a few hymns and then we had a dance party. A ton of my friends and family came to celebrate with me, and it was incredible.
When I think back to November 2010, it was a crazy time in my life. Our family had spent that summer in Acapulco at an orphanage. When we returned, I was entering my last year at the RUF Campus Minister at OU (I suspected but didn’t know this for sure yet). I was working on trying to plant a church in Springfield, Missouri, which ended up not happening (thankfully, since that is what got us to Oklahoma City). I had carpal tunnel surgery twice that fall. I don’t think I was in a good place physically, emotionally or spiritually.
When I think about now here in 2015, I’m about to turn 45 years old. The last four years have been rough. They’ve zapped a lot out of me. Church planting is not easy. The last four months have been rough too! But God’s been very good. Our kids are all doing well. Now two are in college. The church is doing well. So much has happened that I know God is happy about. Julie and I are doing well – perhaps the best we ever have and I’m thankful for that. I’m a ton healthier physically, thanks to working out nearly every day for the last almost two years. I’m less emotionally depleted. I’m trying to rest more and better. God has been talking to me, and I’ve learned so much from him even over the last year.
I’m inviting everyone to come work out with me if they’d like to embrace the suck and try to stave off old age for just a day more. Then after we all shower, everyone is invited to come hang out and sing a few sad hymns but then listen to a band. I’m not brewing beer for this party, but we will have some. At this point in my life, I’d far rather be 45 than 40.
I sure am thinking about myself a lot. I’m my favorite topic. So especially when I’m despairing, I need to change the focus, change what I’m fixated on because that is not the only line in the song:
When Satan tempts me to despair And tells me of the guilt within,
Upward I look and see him there Who made an end to all my sin.
Because the sinless Savior died My sinful soul is counted free.
For God the just is satisfied to look on him and pardon me.
Behold him there the risen lamb, My perfect spotless righteousness,
The great unchangeable I Am, King of glory and of grace
One in himself I cannot die. My soul is purchased by his blood,
My life is hid with Christ on high, With Christ my Savior and my God.