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Well in a not well world

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By Rev. Michael Duncan

Once upon a time, filled with youthful enthusiasm and naiveté, I believed that one day I would finally get life right ... that my life would be fully on target ... that I would be the person God intended me to be.

There is nothing like adulthood to take care of youthful enthusiasm and naiveté. My life is not always on target. In fact, there are days when I can’t even see the target. As for being the person God intended me to be, this too, according to the standards of the young man I once was, eludes me.

Realizing this, I marvel that I am not in deep depression and suicidal. I might be, were it not for one important discovery. As a youth, not only did I believe that one day I would get all of life right, but I also believed that in doing so all would be right with me and with my world. Believing the latter has made the journey toward the former almost impossible.

All is not right with my world, and all the believing and all the faith-having I can muster will not make it so. Coming to Jesus will give me salvation, but it will not make all things right. Following Jesus will lead to my becoming more than I could otherwise become, but I will still face difficulty from the normal ravages of life, and I will face other difficulties because of the choice to follow Jesus.

I give thanks that I’ve lived long enough to discover this about myself and about God. I am a more contented follower of Jesus now that I know I still haven’t got it all together. I am not content because I haven’t got it all together; I am content in spite of the fact that I haven’t.

God’s invitation spoken through Isaiah means so much more to me today than it did in my youth. “Come, everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and he who has no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without price” (Isaiah 55:1 ESV). I may not be all God intended me to be, but I am at God’s table. I am refreshed and nourished. And, in spite of all I am not, I am God’s child.

How is it possible for me (and folks like me) to miss the target so widely and still be the recipient of God’s grace? It is possible because God says, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways” (Isaiah 55:8 ESV).

In Christ, I am more than I might ever have been because I heard and responded to God’s invitation to drink and eat at God’s table. Refreshed and nourished at God’s table knowing that Easter is coming, I face life as it is. Easter is coming ... death will be defeated ... and youthful enthusiasm and naiveté will give way to realized hope — Jesus lives and all is well, even in a not-well world.