Friday, May 5, 2017

Who Was That Masked Man?

Matthew 9:9
.....and Jesus said to him, "Follow me"......

I should know this fellow in the photo above.
At least I think I should know him....
Found this picture recently. Hadn't seen it in years. I kept looking at it like the man in it was a stranger to me. In some ways he is.
The year? 1975.
The place? Camp Shelby Mississippi.
The reason? National Guard Summer Camp.

If I appear a bit dirty/dusty, there is a good reason.
The powers that be snatched us up off the tank range to have these pictures made, and I had been driving an Armored Personnel Carrier. The roads we had to traveled were not paved but were covered in very fine Mississippi dust. Hence the dust on me and my uniform.

It was to be 4 more years before my wife and I came back home to Jesus.

I look at this picture and think of all the years and time I wasted.
I can see so many choices I have made that I wish I could do over.
I was young...
I was insecure...
I was a mess...

But even in all the darkness I was walking in, I was God's mess.
I could not have seen myself being 65, let alone doing the things that God has given me to do.
If anything, I am a walking, breathing testimony of how God can use anyone for His kingdom work.

I have no credentials that afford me the right to stand and counsel or help others who are still in their addiction. No college has recognized me as being capable of occupying such a place. The only thing I possess is a call that God laid on my heart 53 years ago. Even then when it happened I didn't know that it would turn out like this. 

There is so much in my past that I wish I had a kind of "Divine Do-overs" to correct, but  I don't. My past is as much a part of me as is my future. Each has and will shape and define me, and the choices I have made and will make. 
There is a phrase that is found in the big book of A.A...."We do not wish to dwell in the past, nor shut the door on it." In other words, I need to always be mindful of where I've come from, but I don't need to let myself settle down and take root there.  If anything, I should use my past to remember the pain, shame, and guilt of bad choices I made. Choices that came from my own selfishness. Choices that not only hurt me, but those I love.

Yep...I remember that young feller.
I am grateful this morning that God has allowed me to live as long as I have, and I pray that I get many more years. I pray that He isn't finished with me.
Grateful for the journey..
All the bumps and curves, the hills and ditches....those broad wide roads when navigating was well as those dark, dangerous curves when I couldn't see very well. All the while You were there.
And I still hear your voice saying......"Follow Me!"

God on you 

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