How did this happen? Seven years ago I was a single, rookie cop moving into a new nieghborhood with no idea what I was getting myself into. Now I am married, have a house, a dog, two sons and a daughter. Life indeed is a vapor and the reality of that is beginning to become more clear. When I was a child I remember my parents saying how quickly life was flying by their window and I wished I was on that same ride. Now I am and now I wish I could apply the brakes at times.
Last week my wife and I walked through the doors of our local hospital for the third time as we prepared to welcome another child into this bright and harsh world. During my 48 hour stay there I was able to do some reading and thinking. The articles that I came across all seemed to grab my attention as to the weight of having a life well spent. Sometimes I would like to apply the brakes of life, but it seems like the accelerator is being depressed with greater pressure. What do I want my life to count for when the ride runs out of gas?
First, the reason that brought me to the hospital was the birth of Grant Richard. Having two sons is strange. My mind says I only have one and his name is Jack. Now I have two. My dad had two sons. I am 31 years old. Where is the emergency brake? I thought about the life that these two boys will live and what life will look like for them when they are 31 years old. I think one of the greatest impacts I could ever have on this earth is the lasting imprint I will leave on these two boys. I want them to grow to learn how to live life well for the glory of God. I want them to study hard, play with intensity, fight for right, protect their sister, take a punch when it is appropriate, throw a punch when it is needed and above all; love God with all their heart, soul, mind and strength. I want them to be men that are in the world but not of it.
I’ve begun reading a book by Joe Rigney called Live Like A Narnian. (Buy this book!) In the introduction Rigney lays out the way in which C.S. Lewis viewed the world. His overview of C.S. Lewis’ thinking highlighted the high calling I have in training up my sons in the way they should go. Rigney quotes Lewis:
The little human animal will not at first have the right responses. It must be trained to feel pleasure, liking, disgust, and hatred at those things which are pleasant, likable, disgusting, and hateful.
In my line of work I see enough situations in which this is not happening. O God may I train my sons to see in Your Word what is right to feel, right like, right to be disgusted at and right to hate and may they base their lives on it.
The second bit that I read was a blog post by John Piper called When We Send a Person to His Death. In it he talks about a missionary that was killed in Libya and who ended up in there in part because of a sermon he had listened to by John Piper. We currently support a missionary family in Libya and it brought to bear the stark reality that what we are supporting could very well be the death of a man or woman. Jesus is worth it. I wonder if my two boys will one day decide to leave the shores of America and bring the gospel to an unreached people group. What a joy that would be to see. I hope to create a culture in our home that has a high view of missions that looks foolish to the world, whether they go or stay. Jesus is worth it.
Thirdly, during my stay, Desiring God put out a video based on a poem that John Piper wrote called The Calvinist. I’ve watched it four times now. More views are sure to come. I love the poem because it shows what a life looks like that is whole-heartedly embracing the truths that John Calvin saw in God’s Word. These aren’t doctrines that are mainly about debating over. They are about believing, embracing, loving and then living them out. That is what this short video captures and that is how I want to live my life.
Finally, just down the hall from the birthing center is a long corridor of hospital rooms. One night, as I was returning with Asian food in hand, I looked down that hall and saw something that made me pause. I saw an old, weathered man slowing walking down the hall leaning over a walker. By his side was his wife who gently and lovingly had a hand on his back. I wondered how their book read. What chapter were they on? Clearly it was near the end. On one end of the building life was writing the first chapter and on the other pen strokes were writing the last chapters. Yet who knows when an expiration date is? It could be 1 year or it could be a 101 years. God is the author.
This is what I took away from 48 hours: I don’t want to waste my life. I want to love God and love people. I want to be dug down deep into God’s Word and share with others the joy of my salvation. I want to raise boys that become men who “pollute the darkness” as N.D. Wilson says. I want to raise a daughter that knows how to be a godly woman in a culture that will tell her that all opinions are equal. I want to live a life that is God-centered, Christ-treasuring, holiness-pursuing, church-loving and people-pursuing because Jesus is worth it!