By Edward Waters
(Copyright © March 2007)
I'd been a Christian for several years before I first heard someone, in the late 1970s, talk about having a 'life verse' -- one specific Bible text that seemed to sum up their Christian life. I thought about this for a while and considered several verses that meant a lot to me, but in the end I pretty much gave up on the idea. I really didn't see how any one passage could sum up my life when so little of my life had been lived yet.
Well, I've now been a Christian for some three-and-a-half decades. And as I look back over those years, I do perceive a sort of theme, something about my life that stands out.
Simply put: I've never had the slightest idea what I was doing!
Sometimes it's frustrating. I've always felt I had a call from God on my life, but I've never had a clear vision to go with it -- no obvious 'mission' or sense of direction for what I was being called to, beyond the basics of Christian discipleship. And even there, I still feel like a beginner. I still struggle with so many of the same temptations and fears and inadequacies that have always plagued me. Sometimes I wonder if I've ever really grown at all. At the same time, that feeling of 'a call' has been at least one factor in my never having pursued a real career, never having enjoyed even the illusion of financial security, and never having felt settled anywhere I lived. It may even have played a part in our never having had children.
Yet, if I'm honest, I have to admit that God has taken care of me. I've been in some scary spots over the years, but He's always provided what I truly needed. And though I usually feel so isolated and awkward around people, by God's astonishing generosity I've spent more than a quarter of a century married to a woman the very sight of whom still melts my heart. I often feel that I've learned more about God's love for me through my loving Cindy than from any other experience. And, inexplicably, it seems she loves me, too.
Although I've never had a well-defined ministry, God's given me words to speak and opportunities here and there to speak them. He's helped me on unexpected occasions to encourage and comfort others. And, if I may say this without sounding arrogant, I realize now that, on some level, I've always sensed His presence. It was that Presence, in fact, more than any specific human witness, which first drew me to faith in Him. However blindly I've blundered along, I have never been alone.
In recent years I've felt more genuine gratitude toward God than ever before, and I've come to sense the meaning of the word 'grace' as something far more deep and profound and vividly real than any mere doctrine could ever be.
I may also have finally settled on a 'life verse': John 3.8. 'The wind blows where it will, and you hear the sound of it, but you do not know where it is coming or where it is going. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.'
I still have no idea what I'm doing, but the wind of God's Spirit bears me up.
I don't know where He's taking my life. But ... I don't really need to.