Just some early morning thoughts from me to you…
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV)
I don’t know them all—the faces. They are the images of face after face, some seen, some imagined through the years, and some still yet to see, racing through the windows of my mind as the early morning light crashes over the horizon and shines through into the recesses of my study.
And with their images, an aching sadness hangs in my heart.
I know the aching will pass as I have to punch through the hovering clouds into the sunshine of this brand new day. But as I sit here, and even though they are now beginning to fade, I can still see them—the faces of those who are still alive, but who have stopped living.
I’ve seen those faces before, when a loved one was lost or a relationship had ended. In their grief, they who remained stopped living. I’ve seen them when a career was thought to be thrown off track, or became less than it was hoped to be during the climb up. You’ve seen it, too. You and I have both seen it in the faces of too many “retired” folks—deciding simply to grow older, sink into their memories and wait for that first step into eternity.
Still alive, but not living.
I’ve seen it in those faces when an illness descends or a tragedy occurs. I’ve seen it in the faces of too many, afraid to move forward, as they face the uncertainty of their future. I have seen it in the faces of our youth who have been taught to give up their childhood dreams for the pragmatic realities dictated by worldly values. I have even seen it in the faces of winners, expecting real satisfaction in that moment of victory and realizing that what they hoped would be there wasn’t there or didn’t last and instead they were left unsatisfied. I have seen it in the faces of those who can’t get beyond the lingering pain of past hurts, rejections or failures—even though God is pointing the way. And I have seen it in the faces of those who have decided to accept less in life, less than God created them to be—and as a result, never leaving the legacy or having the impact God intended.
Still alive, but not living.
And then I remembered the words from a few years ago of our precious elder Granddaughter, Hannah.
“Tell me a story.”
When she was younger it was one of the most-used and delightful bedtime-delaying tactics. And since she knew her Granddaddy was always one to accommodate the precious request, sometimes the story would be about the brave mermaid named Ariel, or the adventurous Peter Pan, or the “big (and naughty) whale” from Pinocchio.
But often it would be about the little girl from Florida who grew up to be whatever and whoever she wanted to be. A wonderfully-created child who is encouraged to imagine and strive for whatever her heart desires—whether on blank paper with brushes full of watercolors, an empty floor surrounded by building blocks, a dark night full of fireflies, a bedroom of stuffed furry friends, or a future full of promises.
A beloved, gifted, passionate and significant child—not just of parents of flesh and blood—but a precious child of the Living God. Someone just like you and like me. Someone who is encouraged and loved by a God who created us for a higher purpose—for significant, passionate living every day of our lives, with every breath we take.
A God who created you not just to be alive—but to live.
The same God who created us for hope and a future. The same God whose heart aches when He sees those same faces I did earlier and still see every now and then. Faces that have stopped short in living the life they were meant to live. Lives which were created by God with the intention for them to soar with Him into all that life has to offer, not to just waddle through their day-to-day routines or disappointments accepting less than He created them to be.
Is it easy?
Is the direction we are to soar always clear?
There may even be times when you or others wonder where you’re going, or what you’re doing, or if you know who you are. We will all have those moments.
But it’s then you and I need to remind ourselves and others whom we love, that we are all children of the King. A King who has a plan and intention for all the rest of our days—a plan to prosper us and not harm us, and a plan with hope and with a future.
Still alive, but not living? No more!
Abide in Him, rest in Him, follow Him and live in and with the God who created you for impact and hope, and while you’re at it—embrace and claim His promises for your life for the rest of your life.
Then you will find the life He always intended you to live for today, and every day for the rest of your life.
In His Name–Scott
Copyright 2011. Scott L. Whitaker. All rights reserved.