I CAME across an interesting man last week who speaks a language that I and perhaps many others can relate to.
His name in Brian Hardin, son of a Christian pastor, fully involved in the Christian music industry but in his own words, “Doing a lot of stuff for God but having no relationship with him” – sound familiar?
One day he got fed up with the pretence and the aimlessness of it all and he prayed a simple and honest prayer; “Jesus,” he said. “I’m done with the pretence. I’m finished.
“If you want me to go to Timbuktu or make hamburgers for a living, I’ll pack up tomorrow and leave.
“I’m fine with that. I choose to believe that you are nearby and that you can seize me before I hit the bottom.
“If you don’t, I’m dead. I believe my heart will die, and I fear it will be the last time I care about anything.”
Hardin goes on to say that the year had begun for him like any other year, he says he, “…tossed a New Year’s prayer earnestly enough to God, the one about wanting to get closer to him and read the Bible more.”
But he had all but forgotten it by the second week of January, and by the middle of the year he found himself sitting alone on his couch, devastated.
The business he had built, the life he had established had crumbled before his eyes in a matter of months, and he was experiencing what most of us at some time have experienced – certainly I have more than once – a crisis of faith.
We might not call it that, but few if any of us have not been at that place in life that feels like you’ve hit a wall and we ask that scary question, ‘What’s it all about?’
I remember it happening to me following the birth of my youngest son, Jonny.
His mum had just been diagnosed as having breast cancer, from which she subsequently died, and now we were told that Jonny had Downs Syndrome.
I was in business and had worked far too hard to build a secure future for us all; Jonny was the last of four.
Now all lay in ashes at my feet; ‘What is it all about?’
I vividly remember the prayer I prayed then. It wasn’t a sinner’s prayer, and it wasn’t eloquent, it was a cry from the soles of my boots; “Dear God. I know I’ve got it all wrong. If you can make something of my life, please do. If not, I’m finished.”
Nothing happened, at least not that day, but looking back I can now see that God did take me at my word and my life was transformed from the inside out.
How he did it doesn’t matter, for he deals with each of his children as individuals, there is no masterplan.
One thing’s for sure, God showed up for me, but isn’t it a shame that we so easily get so embroiled in our daily living that we totally miss the big picture.
That was over 20 years ago now, and while God never changes I still need to be tugged back into line regularly; it seems my default position is to stray from the road less travelled.
Perhaps the great apostle Paul understood better than most. Here’s what he had to say about it to the fledgling church in Galatia: “The person who plants selfishness, ignoring the needs of others – ignoring God – harvests a crop of weeds.
“All he’ll have to show for his life is weeds! But the one who plants in response to God, letting God’s Spirit do the growth work in him, harvests a crop of real life, eternal life.”
Benjamin Franklin once said: “A man who is all wrapped up in himself makes a very small bundle.”