I was thinking...
So, a friend wrote something the other day in response to a blog... He said that the 20's were better than his teen years, his 30's better than his 20's, and now his 40's are better than his 30's... I thought that was insightful and I have been mulling it over for a few days. That life gets better as you grow in love and understanding despite the fear of the unknowns and the trials that knowingly await is an encouraging fact. I am not sure if this always true, but it seems to be true for me. I love my wife more today than when I first met her. My heart swells with love for my kids and they only get more fun and cute and quotable the older they get (o.k., I know they aren't teenagers, yet:). My understanding of God and life and people and the Bible grows... It gets better.
So, I, during this fall season, as the trees are changing colors, I have found myself more and more just in awe of their beauty. And I realized today, that I really think I grow in my appreciation of the beauty of God's creation. I notice and appreciate the leaves more today than I did last year. I think that is cool. I hope that trend continues.
But all this leads me to another thought which is actually a question... Why do the leaves turn the most beautiful colors when they are dying? Why is that the most beautiful and amazing the leaves will ever be is when their days are at their end? And, I was thinking that is not only what I want in my life, but I what I also look forward to. I want to finish well. But I want to finish well, knowing that my end is just my beginning. It seems there are so many cases in so many arenas of people not finishing well. I see marriages that started out with so much promise end in divorce. I see athletes do stupid things and end poorly. I am thinking of like Woody Hayes whose whole career was tarnished by hitting a player at the end of his career or that soccer player Zidane whose last game ever during the world cup, he lost his temper and head butted a guy. He was thrown out, his team lost and he never played again. I see politicians who have brilliant careers go out in flames because of affairs or corrupution.
But there are some people who end more beautiful. I think of Billy Graham or Mother Teresa or mentor of mine, Sherb Heath or even the Apostle Paul. He wrote, " 7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith." I think that finishing well really is a matter of living well, not for the present, but for the future. I am still relatively a young man and I can't talk about what I don't know, but I am sensing that the ones who end well are the ones who know their end and they approach with joy and confidence and joy. It changes how they live. They live like Heaven is real.
C.S. Lewis said, “If you read history you will find that the Christians who did most for the present world were precisely those who thought most of the next. It is since Christians have largely ceased to think of the other world that they have become so ineffective in this. Aim at heaven and you will get earth thrown in. Aim at earth and you get neither.”
I think when we focus on this world and we are afraid of death, we die early, like when a leaf falls off in spring. No matter what the age, I think beauty comes in when we live life for eternity, no matter how old we are. And so there are two things from that: 1. Back to this idea that life just keeps getting better. I think that is a small taste of Heaven, and a gift from our Father. In Heaven, we don't get bored, but we worship and learn and serve and love. It just keeps getting better. And 2, our love and desire for Heaven is the secret for finishing well here, however long our lives last...