A few days ago I was chatting with an amazing person about life, hopes and dreams. It was during the course of a meal that I was invited to by a Christian charity who were celebrating their 5th birthday as a ministry.
The conversation could be best described as ‘life-giving’!
Now this guy was in his early 20s, and he spoke like a man who had all his life before him. He spoke of the things that he wanted to achieve in life, the ways in which he believed God wanted him to spend his time and his resources. He spoke of his girlfriend and the amazing stuff that she was involved in and how proud he was of her ambitions too.
I sat there, as a bloke in my mid forties and listened.
There have been many times when I have been involved in similar conversations and I have, perhaps cynically, thought… You wait! You are young, and you are naive. Life will deal you some blows and I will bet that in 10 or 20 years time you will have a very different take on life.
Unfortunately, life can make the very best of us into ‘grumpy old men’ if we are not careful.
However, on this occasion and in this conversation I did not feel the slightest bit of cynicism at all. I just felt a real sense of pleasure in this guy’s hopefulness and in his determination to make something of his life, to be something, to walk in the confidence of being everything God created him to be.
Yet, even in his twenties this guy also had some stuff that he did struggle with. I think, the most significant challenge for him, was that he was in a long distance relationship, and because both he and his girlfriend wanted to put God first that distance was not going to get any less in the foreseeable future.
So, it came to my turn to add something deep and meaningful to this conversation. My wisdom was slightly slow in coming forth, mainly because I was doing battle with a mouth-sized piece of steak that I had chosen to start chewing at precisely the wrong moment. But, when the words did emerge they even surprised myself.
“I love your heart brawd, you are amazingly mature even in your twenties but the only way you will avoid losing heart is to embrace this moment of your life, and every other moment that follows no matter how tough you find it!”
Did I just say that? Have I just achieved my ‘Gandalf’ badge in the Game of Life?
Well, there is that saying that we all get our fifteen minutes of fame, I think at that moment I got my fifteen-seconds of wisdom.
Over the weekend I was watching the news and saw an interview with Jamie Murray (brother of Andy Murray). Jamie has been instrumental in organising the inaugural Murray Cup tennis tournament in Glasgow. When he was asked what he had learned most from his career, he made the following statement:
“The greatest thing I have learned is to embrace and enjoy every moment of it!”
I wondered if he had been listening in on my wisdom from a couple of days earlier, this had to be plagiarism – he virtually quoted me word for word.
We need to learn how to embrace every moment of this journey. Sure, life doesn’t always turn out the way we want it to. For most of us, we cry every bit as much as we laugh! But you know through it all we grow, we become stronger and we have just that bit more to offer to those around us.
I think the Apostle Peter knew how to embrace life in it’s totality when he penned the following words:
“I know how great this makes you feel, even though you have to put up with every kind of aggravation in the meantime. Pure gold put in the fire comes out of it proved pure; genuine faith put through this suffering comes out proved genuine. When Jesus wraps this all up, it’s your faith, not your gold, that God will have on display as evidence of his victory.”1 Peter 1:6-7
Yet, whilst it is so important for us to embrace and enjoy life in the good times and in the tough times, I also want to remind us that we need to do this in the company of others. We need friends, brothers, sisters, other Christians to cheer us on and to pray for/with us. If you have loads of people you can ask to pray with you, or if you simply don’t know who to ask for prayer, the CVM team are here for you and you can ask for prayer online and we will get to it as a team. Simply go to cvm.org.uk/prayer, we would love to stand shoulder to shoulder with you.
May God bless you, keep you, comfort you, encourage you along this journey we call life.