The Big 5-0
Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. Galatians 6:7-8
When I turned 40, that didn’t sound old to me. Fifty though, just feels different. I’ve got to admit it seems really old. I’ve also got to admit though that I’m far happier now than I was 10 years ago. At age 40, I remember looking back over the previous decade of my life and not feeling very good about it. My thirties were the years of a drug addiction that I’d begun at age 29. Every birthday in that decade was another year that I’d failed to get sober. Every year was another empty promise – This year will be different! Now though, at age 50, I can finally look back over my previous decade with joy, knowing that I’ve found recovery, life, and peace.
What has made the difference? What happened that I finally found recovery and transformation? God intervened and consequences happened. In today’s passage, the apostle Paul explained that when I pursue pleasure and happiness by indulging in my own appetite, I eventually reap calamity and misery. God is not mocked. I may get away with my way for a while, but immediate gratification always means paying some price later. In the case of my drug addiction, it was a terrible price, but one for which I’m now immensely grateful. It was only in that disaster that I learned how and where to find authentic life, joy, and peace.
As Paul explained, when I abandon my way, pursuing God’s way, I find new life. It didn’t happen all at once, and I hardly do it perfectly now, but making a daily attempt to abandon my self-destructive nature to follow God’s will has made all the difference. When I lived for my appetite, my life was a disaster. When I got sober, pursuing faith and recovery, I was able to put life back together. Now, at age 50, I can look back, not with sorrow and regret, but with joy, peace, and satisfaction.
Once, I repeatedly promised my wife that I’d never relapse again but I just kept going back to my pills. Now, in recovery, I don’t promise that I’ll never fail again. I still have other struggles. I do promise however, that today I’ll make a genuine attempt to abandon my will for God’s. Then, I’ll do the same thing again tomorrow. I may be getting older, but I’m far more content than I was ten years ago, and for that, I’m grateful.